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How to Stop Tantrums For Good

Updated on September 29, 2007

You know the scene. A kid is freaking out, screaming, whining, or just plain badgering you to do what he wants. I have seen several small children actually hit their parents and others. A simple temper tantrum? Okay, but do you want to let it continue? Many parents think that these outbursts are a normal part of childhood that must be endured. And this is true, they are normal. And they must be endured, but by the child, not by you.

If a child chooses to act out - and yes a three-year-old is capable of making this choice- then he should have to suffer the consequences.

So what is the secret to ending tantrums for good? It's simple. Become a parent of integrity. Integrity is defined in Webster's as follows:

1 : firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values : INCORRUPTIBILITY

2 : an unimpaired condition : SOUNDNESS

3 : the quality or state of being complete or undivided : COMPLETENESS

synonym see HONESTY

Isn't that what you want to be for your child. Incorruptible, sound, complete, and honest? It may seem that your child wants you to give in to his every wish, but the opposite is true. Kids test the world by testing their parents. When you provide boundaries for children, you are making the world a safer and more knowable place for them. The only way you can do that is by setting standards for behavior and then enforcing them.


Let your child know that you mean what you say. You will not be swayed by cries, whines, or especially shrill screeches in line at the grocery store. Once your child understands that you mean business, the attempts to change your will decrease greatly. If, on the other hand, you give in to his demands he knows he's got the upper hand. You must be consistent in your application of standards. Don't change what's acceptable from one day to another.


It says in the definition: an unimpaired condition. In other words, don't freak out. When your child is going crazy, the last thing he needs is to see you do the same. Think about it. If you are upset and afraid, don't you want a rock to lean on? Your child wants the same so stay sound. Keep your cool. Deep breathing helps!


A wise woman once counseled me never to tell a kid you're going to kill him, because if he wakes up alive, he'll never believe you again. Every time you back down and don't follow through with a threat of punishment, you are telling your kid you're a liar. Any upset a child suffers when you deny a gift or privilege is nothing compared to losing trust in a parent.


Don't be wishy-washy. Know what you want to accomplish and go for it. Yes, we are divided in our desire to provide little Johnny with every single Power Ranger we were denied in our deprived childhood, but consider the more important gifts you are responsible to bestow. Be undivided in your goal to raise a kind, complete human being who does not believe he is the center of the universe.

What To Do?

It's very simple. Do what you say you'll do. You would get fired from your job if you repeatedly failed to deliver an important report for your boss, yet when you fail to deliver a promised punishment to a child, you both suffer.

Be clear. Let children know what is expected and remind them often.

Be consistent. Apply the consequences for bad behavior fairly and predictably over time.

Be loving. Remember that you're doing this out of love. Leave anger out of the equation. Keep your cool.

Related Reading:

Attachment Parenting and Discipline

How to Stop Older Kids From Whining

How to Stop Young Kids From Whining

Keep Kids in Line With Reward Boards

How to Deal With Back Talk

How to Stop Kids From Begging at the Store

How to Teach Kids to Listen

How to Show Affection to Your Children

How to Teach Kids Not to Be Selfish


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