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Child Tantrums - How to Handle Child Temper Tantrums

Updated on April 10, 2013
Unlike this picture, most temper tantrums will appear in explodingly vivid colors!
Unlike this picture, most temper tantrums will appear in explodingly vivid colors! | Source

Child Temper Tantrums!

Temper tantrums! Those awful manipulative techniques that are often proficiently demonstrated and perfectly timed to occur at your most embarrassing and vulnerable moments! Who trained those 2, 3 and 4 year-olds to be so good at executing the perfect temper tantrum?

And, an even more important question once we have reached this point, how do we train them not to use this new highly effective technique once they have seen just how well it really works? I do not have the only answer but I have the one that worked for me, and it only took one lesson. This is my story.

For those of you who have been reading my work, or chatting with me on FaceBook, you may feel you know me. Although I may still have a playful nature, in real life (the life when a computer is not between you and me) I am a slightly different person. I tend to avoid crowds and can be very shy unless I am in a group of people I know. All personality tests have indicated that I am a very introverted person. Knowing this in advance will help you appreciate all the more the story I now share with you.

Is the temper tantrum working?

The video below is great. I find it amusing how the little girl has to stop momentarily to see if the tantrum is having the desired effect.

We Started a Family . . .

My husband and I were not able to have children. Therefore, after sixteen years of wedded bliss we decided to start our family by adopting. We adopted a sibling group through the state of Texas – two boys and a girl, ages 7, 8 and 9.

I wish the description stopped there, but I feel that I must share a few more details with you. These children had been severely abused and neglected, and had spent a few years living on the streets with their mother who was a drug addict and prostitute. Their father was in prison. Needless to say, they had very few if any social skills. Emotional outbursts, such as temper tantrums, had been used more for survival rather than manipulation. And they had perfected the art, especially my daughter whom we had nicknamed the DQ (drama queen) kid.

Preparing a Plan to Battle the Temper Tantrum

I am sure that all of you have witnessed a temper tantrum perfectly executed in the aisles of a grocery store. As I stated earlier, most temper tantrums are used by children who are 2, 3 or 4. Therefore, when a child who is 8 years old and has had a lot more practice at the art of temper tantrums throws one, you can only imagine how skilled the performance has become. Believe me when I say, it was not pretty!

Without fail, my daughter always seemed poised and ready to demonstrate her proficiency when we went to the store. I had been an unwilling attendee of all too many of her highly skilled performances, and I was ready for the embarrassment to stop. No amount of discussion or discipline had worked, and I had become desperate. I had to have been desperate to have even considered, much less willing, to do what I did.

Once I had decided on a battle plan, I had to mentally prepare myself for what I was planning to do. This went so against the grain for me, that it would have been so much easier just to attend another one of her performances and chalk it up to another bad experience. But it was time to teach this young lady of 8 years of age that temper tantrums would no longer work to her advantage.

My resolve was in place when I asked her if she would like to go to Wal-Mart with me. I was ready, but was she? Little did she know what I had in store for her on this fateful day. I’m sure I smiled in anticipation of what her reaction would be to my response of her performance, but I also wondered if I really had it in me to carry out my plan.

This video is great! It is set up to show a toddler being interviewed about how she throws a temper tantrum and all the components that go with it!

Everyone appreciates a good performance, unless the performance is a temper tantrum!
Everyone appreciates a good performance, unless the performance is a temper tantrum! | Source

The Temper Tantrum Performance to End All Performances

I’m not sure which aisle we were in when the scene began to unfold. It usually began when she saw something she wanted, and I would tell her no, and from there it would escalate. And right on cue her performance began with the whining, then pouting. She soon progressed to foot stomping and arm flailing. This would be followed with louder wailing, clenched teeth and fists while jumping up and down.

Once we had arrived at this appointed moment, I knew the time had come for me to take action. I took a deep breath . . . thought about backing out . . . could I really do this . . . did I really want to do this . . .

No, I didn’t want to do this, but I had to . . . so . . . I took another deep breath, clinched my fists and started jumping up and down right there in the middle of Wal-Mart, right there next to her, imitating her actions and wailing the same words that she did.

As you can only but imagine, lots of heads turned to see my performance that day. After all, the performance of a 37 year old woman throwing a temper tantrum in the middle of Wal-Mart is not something you get the privilege of witnessing every day.

My performance, executed so embarrassingly well, stopped my daughter cold in her tracks and never needed an encore. “Mom, what are you doing?” she asked while grabbing at my arm trying to make me stop.

“What does it look like I’m doing? I’m throwing a temper tantrum! If you can do it, so can I!”

Needless to say, I never had to attend another one of my daughter’s temper tantrum performances in a store again. Also, needless to say, it was a long time before I returned to that particular store to shop.

All Rights Reserved

Copyright © 2012 Cindy Murdoch (homesteadbound)

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