September 29, 2010

The Friendly Stepmonster Diaries: Tantrums

We've got ourselves some spit fires around here. One in particular is a world-class tantrum thrower. When she doesn't get what she wants she whines, she screams, she throws herself on the floor, the whole nine yards. And horror to end all horrors, this happens just about every morning before school. And I am not a morning person!

Hunny Luv's response usually drives me absolutely insane! He will stop whatever the family is doing, then repeatedly try to explain his decision and get the child to talk (while the kid is still acting like a buffoon). And he usually follows it up by giving them whatever they wanted to begin with #sideeye

I must admit that they're formidable opponents, for their father. But they've met their match because

The Friendly Stepmonster Says... One Monkey Don't Stop No Show


The madness has to stop so I had a long talk with Hunny Luv where I explained that giving in when a child throws a tantrum only reinforces the unwanted behaviors. It also shifts the balance of power because they know that if they scream, cry, flop around on the floor like a fish gasping for water, etc. he/she is going to get their way. Not to mention that it's totally unfair to the other family members who are having a pleasant experience put on hold all because someone wants to act like a donkey.

I believe that it's okay to try calmly reasoning with the kid for no more than two minutes. After that they need to go to timeout, if not a physical timeout then a verbal one where you pretty much ignore the fact that they're whining or screaming their head off.

Soon enough, they will begin to realize that tantrum throwing isn't going to get them what they want and that it will even delay their opportunity to vocalize their opinion on matters. And then the tantrums stop... or at least taper off.

I was really proud of Hunny Luv today. This morning was the first time that I've ever seen him refrain from indulging in a tantrum. After trying to talk to MiPhi, he calmy continued to get ready for work and get the kids ready for school. At first she screamed louder. Mind you nothing was wrong with her... well, she was probably shocked that Daddy didn't come running. But pretty soon she realized that the tantrum really wasn't working and just like that...

She stopped! With this being the first time, it didn't take her long to start whining about something else. But it's progress, so I'll take it!



Christine said...

good for you! when kids are rewarded for poor behavior, it just gets worse later.