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When Your Child Has a Tantrum, Stop and Think. Do not give in to the tantrum. Do not react before evaluating and assessing the situation. It is okay to pause and think before reacting.
I have been trying to pinpoint what makes Kaitlyn’s tantrums easier for me to manage than Brayden’s were when he was the same age. A lot of it has to do with my perspective. A 14 month old tantrum (mini-fit as I call it) is nothing compared to a 2-3 year old tantrum. A 14 month old just isn’t going to hold on as long as a 3 year old will. To me, this mini-fit is nothing, even borderline amusing. Not that I think the behavior is okay, but I have absolutely no temptation to give in to it.
A big part of it is life experience. Perspective and experience go hand in hand. I am not tempted to give in to her mini-fit. When Brayden was first starting his fits, it was a bit of a shock to me. This sweet baby suddenly started throwing fits. I wasn’t exactly sure what to do about it. Sure, I had read things to do, but in the heat of the fit, it was like I froze and just wanted to get it to end as quickly as possible.
With Kaitlyn, I knew the fit was coming. I knew the day would come when she had her mini-fit. Been there, done that. I have also made the mistakes. I have given in to fits before. I know the consequences. I know it is much easier to stand by your rules now than to fix the even bigger fits that are sure to come after you give in.
A result of my experience is that when the mini-fit starts, I pause and think before reacting. I analyze the reason she is throwing her mini-fit and what it is she wants from it. I run through the possible scenarios from start to finish in my head (which is easier for me to do since I have lived out scenarios). I then decide how to handle it. The process really only takes a matter of seconds.
If you are on your first child, know that you are going to make mistakes. Moms with experience also make mistakes, but hopefully we have learned enough from past mistakes that we make them less often. Try to mentally prepare yourself and think through your reactions so you will be better able to react to these mini-fits appropriately. The better you handle them now, the easier real tantrums will be in the future. So remember, stop and think before you react to a tantrum.
Here are some other posts on discipline:
- BW II: Freedoms
- Tantrums and Discipline
- Teaching Your Baby “No”
- The Choice Addiction (for Toddlers)
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