Page 19 - Alaska Parent Winter 2020 Digital
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Consider triggers
Think about what triggered your child
to get so upset in the first place. How can frustrating situations be avoided in the future? Of course, not all tantrums can be avoided but certain triggers can be removed. When armed with this information parents can be prepared to use distraction to lessen or avoid a future tantrum.
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You are not alone
Although it might feel like you are alone while your child has a fit at the grocery store, we have all been there. It is likely your child will have a tantrum in public at some point and it will be embarrassing and inconvenient, but it is generally unavoidable. Remind yourself again that it is normal for kids to have tantrums, leave the store if needed, and try to laugh about it later.
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Don’t give in, except once in a while
Giving into a tantrum will do nothing but encourage future tantrums. If your child is throwing a tantrum because he wants to eat a cookie before dinner, do not give him the cookie. It
is also not a good idea to use bribes to stop a tantrum. “If
you stop crying, I will buy you a toy” rewards the child for the tantrum. However, if your child is in the middle of a tantrum and listening to the same annoying song over and over again on the car ride home will help him calm down, this may be an exception you can live with.
  Use distraction, humor, and hugs
During a tantrum, kids are not able to listen to reason but that doesn’t mean parents can’t try to wrap up the crying quickly. Try using a distraction like “Where is the ball?” or “Do you want to read a book?” Make a silly face to lighten the mood or turn on some music and begin a silly dance. For some kids a tight hug helps them to calm down when they are upset. Trying to help your child move past the tantrum can teach them methods for calming themselves down in the future. The situation that caused the tantrum can be discussed later if needed.
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The next time your child has a terrible tantrum, try to stop and remember these tips. Ultimately the tantrum will end and your child will grow and learn to communicate more effectively.
 Don’t doubt yourself
There was a day when I had dealt with a particular horrible tantrum from my daughter and I began to blame myself. “What am I doing wrong? I am a terrible mom.” After expressing these things to a friend, she reminded me that I am not a bad mother; I am just having a bad day. It happens to all of us. Remain confident in your parenting and remind yourself you are doing the best you can. Tantrums happen to all parents.
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