My Beautiful Brat


My daughter has just discovered the emotion of anger.

 By ‘discovered‘ I mean, she realised that she has a serious temper that can be used to get whatever she wants, with nothing more than a simple scream…well at least with her Daddy she can anyways.

Lately it seems that L is always mad at something. If you take something away from her…. she is mad, change her diaper, clothes, etc… she is mad, when you put her to bed, put her down, or put her in her room to play….. she is mad. Anger is oozing from this beautiful little brat!

She shows her anger by grunting, tensing up her whole body, or releasing these earth shattering screams…. It is quite disturbing actually. Now, I must admit that we expected some sort of temper, both her father and I are known to be a little hot-headed at times. (OK maybe more than a little) I am the ‘fly-off-the-handle’ type, and Daddy is often seen with a permanent frown on his face, creasing his forehead. Not to say we are constantly miserable people or anything like that, we just have “tempers” and are not afraid to share our emotions when something upsets us. It makes for some very tense moments, but at least it beats bottling things up inside until we one day just explode about every little thing!

But L’s temper is amusing right now in a sense (I am sure that a few months, or even years down the road, it won’t be so damn cute, but for now it is a constant laughing matter in our house for the most part.)

Although I have been laughing about her little ‘outbursts’ the fear of temper tantrums in public places scares me to death and so I thought I would research now the best ways to handle such out burst, if they do occur, in a public place in the future.

So here is a list of Do’s and Dont’s when dealing with public temper tantrums;

Do

  • Do Remain calm at all times – Children are great at sensing your emotions. Often times tantrums are a way for children to get what they want, and the more frustrated you are the further they will push knowing you are more likely to give in if you are embarrassed or frustrated.
  • Do try to understand – We all feel frustration at not getting our own way, but as adults we realise the need to control these emotions. Children do not have the sense yet of what is, and is not, appropriate behaviour in public, or how to show their frustration in an acceptable manner.
  • Do reflect/accept their feelings – Apparently when you justify your childs feelings it will help to calm them down. By saying “I understand you are feeling mad right now” you are acknowledging what your child is feeling and telling them it is alright to feel that way, but showing that they can feel an emotion without acting out.
  • Do Ignore – If the tantrum is for attention (which is the case often times) simply ignore the child’s outburst. Do not abandon the child, but simply go about your business without acknowledging the behaviour.
  • Do give a child options – Giving your child choices can help you prevent tantrums later. By giving a child a small amount of control on a regular basis you help them to feel like an important part of the family and they are less likely to act out later while you have to do something that you “chose” to do.
  • Do Explain – If you have a child who is prone to, or you fear will, act out in public take the time to explain to the child what your schedule will be for the day before hand. Telling your child “We have to go to the bank, the grocery store, and the dry-cleaners, then we can come home and play” may help them to understand that after the ‘work’ is done you get a reward. (but never promise treats for good behaviour, bribing a child is just as bad as giving in to their demands. Children should know that good behaviour is appreciated because it is expected, not because it is a once in a while pleasure.)

Don’t

  • Do NOT Smack your child up-side the head – As much as you may want to physically discipline your child, it is best to refrain from doing so (especially in public) Not only will it earn you even more disapproving looks from bystanders, it will only escalate the situation and cause your child to act out even more.
  • Do NOT Give in – This is a big one. Never ever give in to your childs demands when they are acting out. As frustrating as it maybe to have everyone in Walmart stare at you like you are a horrible parent, it is worth it in the long run. Giving in to what your child is demanding will only lead to further tantrums down the road. Stand your ground and explain that their behaviour will not be tolerated.
  • Do NOT set a limit  – If you are dealing with an older child and time-out is one of the options you choose to punish bad behaviour, it is best not to set a time limit on the punishment. Rather place the child in time-out until they have calmed down and are ready to act appropriately. Sometimes this may occur quickly, other times it may take longer.
  • Do NOT stop – Should your child decide to throw a tantrum in the middle of the grocery store, DO NOT stop your shopping and go home. You should not suffer because of bad behaviour. Simply ignore and continue on with your errand, then leave the store. If your child has thrown themselves on the floor, you can attempt to walk away watching that they follow, but remember to never actually leave your child unattended, and don’t fuss over them or act embarrassed. Once you leave the store you can explain that they are being punished, what the punishment is and why.
  • Do NOT threaten – One of the worst things parents do is yell out idle threats “Stop it or your going to bed” “I said stop it or your going to bed” “That’s enough I mean it, I will put you to bed….” and so on with no follow through. If you threaten to do something DO IT! You might feel mean, you might not want to, but if you say it, DO IT, or your child will assume you are not serious and they will act out more often and on a more serious level. Discipline requires consistency at all times to be effective so you muct always follow through with a threat!

I personally agree with some of these, and others I just don’t have the compassion to even try. I have never had to deal with a major tantrum in public (as of yet) and any slight instance of ill behaviour was quickly halted by “the Mama Look, and the Mad voice….”

But when it comes to L, who is growing quickly and showing some serious signs of becoming a bratty little girl, I think that I will keep these tips close at hand…just in case!

 

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