Catholic Activity: Preschool Parent Pedagogy: Dealing with Tantrums
Training our children requires training of the parents first. Many parents have to deal with the problem of their young children throwing tantrums. Here is a logical and calm approach to break your child of the bad habit and teach a good one in its place.
Some parents feel that they are so bothered by their children's crying and tantrums that they cannot get around to starting the good things recommended in these pages. The first thing to do is to get the child into proper physical and mental condition.
If your child does not live a regular life and eat and sleep properly, he will probably cry and nag and cause much trouble and have tantrums.
But if he has been well trained in the fundamentals of proper living, and yet has a bad habit of tantrums, you have to tackle the problem directly, at once.
Bear in mind the following:
- A little child kicks and screams because he thinks,—or perhaps because he knows from experience,—that in order to avoid a scene you will give in to him and let him have what he wants. You must prove to him that this is a mistaken idea of his. You are not going to give in.
- Do not get angry. Do not slap.
- Say firmly, "No; when you stop screaming I will speak to you." Then leave the child alone in a safe room. Or, if he must be in the room with you, do not notice him. Keep busy with something or other.
- After a while, say quietly, "Little Jesus does not like screaming and kicking. He loves you and He does not want you to do that."
- Stop. Keep quiet. Be patient.
- If the child slows down at times, waits to see if you will give in, and then starts up again, do not worry. He is showing that he begins to understand. Ignore him. Finally he will yield. He may fall asleep.
- Two or three performances like this will end the bad habit and establish a good one
- Remember: Be gentle; but be firm and consistent. Remain very calm and silent.
Activity Source: Religion in the Home: Monthly Aids for the Parents of Pre-School Children by Katherine Delmonico Byles, Paulist Press, 1938