Archive for the ‘temper tantrums’ category

Bully-free parenting

December 5, 2011
my child is the bully, anti-bullying, positive parenting, positive discipline, hitting, spanking, yelling, parenting about, teens, toddlers,preschoolers, teenagers, tweens, elementary age, "alfred adler" , natural and logical consequences, encouragement, family meetings,
Many bullies are made at home

As the young mother of three children born in 3.5 years, I thought “discipline” meant “punishment.” Through parenting workshops, I learned that “discipline” means “to teach.” Parents are teaching every minute of every day by our example, and how we manage others. To manage people means to get other people to do what we want.

My question to you today is How do you manage your children? Do you yell, spank, praise, reward and punish? Or, are you their friend and set few limits?

Children feel unsafe in both extremes. The greatest challenge for parents is to manage our emotions because children try our patience. When they don’t do what we want, when they make bad decisions and put their safety at risk, we feel anxious, worried and frustrated that they don’t listen to us. Therefore we are justified in punishing them.

The problem with punishment is that it often breeds resentment, rebellion and revenge, and ironically, NOT the behavior change we wish to see.

Tots to teens need limits set with respect, love and logic. Children need to experience the results of their decisions. My favorite line is “Give them enough rope to burn but not enough to hang” so they can learn to choose well and find out life’s rules.

Here are some examples of how tots to teens can learn from their decisions.

a. A 10-year-old spent his allowance on candy on Saturday and asks Dad on Sunday, “Can you buy me this video game?” “Son, I bet you can save up your allowance for a few weeks and buy that game.”

b. A 3-year-old refuses to eat his favorite vegetable at dinner and has a tantrum because his parents won’t give him dessert. “You’d really like some dessert. You know the rule in our family. People who eat their vegetables get dessert.”

c. A 15-year-old doesn’t clean the bathroom as promised by Friday at 7 pm. Mom explains in a kind and firm voice, “When the bathroom is cleaned, I’ll give you the ride.”

d. A 7-year-old forgets her mittens on a cold day and her hands get chapped.

e. A 12-year-old chooses not to pick up his room. It becomes difficult to walk in the room and it l from dirty clothes. He has trouble finding clean clothes to wear to school and doesn’t care.

In the first three examples, can you see how the parent explains the logic behind the decisions and in the last two, the parent can allow the youngsters to experience the results of their choices without intervening. The first three are “logical consequences” because they require parental action. The last two are “natural consequences” because the outcome happens without parental action. These are the most powerful and respectful ways for children to mature that sustain a positive parent-child connection.

Here are some bullying responses to the same scenarios, that teach children those who are bigger, meaner, verbally or physically abusive, louder and stronger will win. Verbal abuse can be as devastating as physical abuse.

a. “You’re never going to learn to manage your money.”

b. “Go to your room, you’re being a bad boy. I’m going to spank you if you don’t stop crying.”

c. “What do you think I am? The maid and the driver? You’re lazy and self-centered. All I ask is that you clean the lousy bathroom once a week. I’m going to take away your video games for a week.”

d. “How many times did I tell you to bring your mittens? You’re going to catch cold and die of pneumonia. What will your teacher think if you go to school without mittens? You always make me look bad. I want to be proud of you.”

e. “You must clean your room today or else you’ll be grounded for a month. I’m sick and tired of you disrespecting the house your father and I work so hard to get. You’re going to amount to nothing if you don’t learn some respect. What will your friends and teachers think when you go to school with the same dirty T-shirt day after day?”

In the last two, parents can allow youngsters to live with the consequences of their decisions. This shows mutual respect. Parents model problem solving and behavior management without punishment, reward and praise.

Parents can teach children to choose wisely by being kind and firm, saying as little as possible and using natural and logical consequences that are related, reasonable and respectful (thanks to Jane Nelsen for the Three Rs of natural and logical consequences).

Encouragement is the fuel that powers children, tweens & teens

February 10, 2011

“A misbehaving child is a discouraged child,” and “A child needs encouragement like a plant needs water,” according to Rudolf Dreikurs, MD, an Austrian physician and child-whisperer.

When yelling, punishment and bullying my children failed, I started to read Dreikurs’ book, “Children, the Challenge,” published in 1960 with Vicki Soltz, RN.

It took months, even years, for me to experience how encouragement led to improved behavior and a more positive mother-child relationship.

Encouragement is preventative maintenance that is different from praise. Encouragement is like an apple; praise is like candy.

Apples — good for you, not too sweet, versatile, store well, natural, un-processed.

Candy — not so good for you, so sweet you can get a headache, a treat, gets stale, processed and usually laden with high fructose corn syrup and artificial preservatives and colorings.

A little praise every once in a while is okay. Daily overdoses of praise will give a child a headache, set up unrealistic expectations and teach her to perform for parents.

“Molly, I’m so proud of you for getting an A on that test!” Oh yeah, here’s another problem with praise. It can only be given after success. Encouragement is so potent that it can be given after failure.

“Alicia, You must be disappointed you didn’t make the travel soccer team. Do you want to sign up for a soccer camp or try another sport? You can also play town soccer.”

“Brian, these lemon squares are good. It doesn’t matter that you combined the topping and the crust. It’s hard to hurt homemade food. Can I have another one?”

“Alexa, you put away half of that mess you left in the family room. Good start. Do you need some help with the rest?”

Can you see that encouragement is specific and focused on the deed, not the doer. Praise is general and high-energy. Encouragement is low-key.

Some of my coaching clients report that their children cannot tolerate praise. They feel uncomfortable and mis-behave within 10 minutes after a sticky-sweet praise-ful overkill: “I’m so proud of you for finishing your homework before dinner.” Children and especially teens, don’t like to be seen as too good.

Children with ADD and ADHD can especially benefit from regular doses of encouragement, especially because encouragement acknowledges effort. Children with ADD/ADHD can also suffer from low self-esteem as a side-effect of their disorder.

Encouragement is a solid sustainable way to nurture a child’s self-esteem and promote the behavior you want to see in a youngster. It takes time and effort to learn and use. See my tip sheet on it.

I’ll be giving two workshops on Encouragement and ADD/ADHD Youngsters next week. Tuesday Feb. 15 at Roudenbush Community Center in Westford, Mass. and Thursday, Feb. 17 in Concord-Carlisle Adult Education. Both start at 7 pm and are in the Boston, Mass. area.

The how and why of encouragement is worth reviewing regularly and practicing daily. Hope to see you at a workshop.

By the way, “thank you” is a powerful form of encouragement. Just witnessing children is encouragement. Encouragement is just as potent when used on adults and in the workplace. It’s very versatile.

Make tantrums history by looking at their history

July 13, 2010
there are many causes of Tantrums. Parents have to look beyond the immediate frustration and see the bigger picture to eliminate tantrums. parents may have trained children to use tantrums because they work. Tantrums can be solved by parents taking a different attitude.

Is the little guy hungry, sleepy or just sick of shopping with mom?

One day I followed my 4-year-old son upstairs when he threw a fit and I realized he used the tantrum to get one-on-one attention from me. In a family of four children, it was a good strategy for him to use. I realized that I owed him some regular bursts of positive attention — to prevent using tantrums to get my attention.

Tantrums are a symptom of something deeper in the parent-child relationship. Use introspection to figure out underlying causes so they can be eliminated.


1. Does the tantrum get the child what she wants? If so, the parent has trained her to use tantrums because parents have established the pattern of responding to them. They work, so the child uses them.

2. Is the child’s emotional cup running over? Do parents give enough time to him in short bursts over the course of a day, week and month? Does he feel like he’s a priority in the parent’s life without going to extremes to be seen and heard?

3. At the time of the tantrum, is the child over-tired, hungry or stressed about a transition [going/coming to dad’s house, school vacation, a big holiday]? Has the parent asked too much of the child (for example, taken her on a lengthy adult shopping trip?)If so, show respect for the child’s needs to eat, rest and play, and figure out ways to anticipate significant transitions in the child’s life.

Parents need to take a bigger picture view of tantrums because there are no one-click fixes in parenting. Learn to slow down and tune into your child’s needs, wants, preferences and pace of life.

Although it might not feel like it in the moment, their youth is SO BRIEF in the overall scheme, it is worth taking/making the time to be present with them and balance them with your own needs.

What to do with Tammy tantrum?

April 19, 2010

Temper tantrums can be controlled when parents control their emotions. Parents can take time for training, set reasonable limits and take action when the child is out of control.Temper tantrums can be a nightmare, especially in public. Here are some suggestions to change your response and the child will eventually change their behavior.

Analyze what tantrums achieve for Timmy Temper and Tammy Tantrum. Do parents give in as a result of the tantrum? If they are effective, Timmy and Tammy will tantrum whether they’re at home or on vacation.

Timmy Temper and Tammy Tantrum love an audience because they enhance the performance.

Notice how you feel when Timmy’s temper flares.  Does he object to a limit you’ve set? Notice if you give in or not.  Set limits in advance and enforce them with kindness and firmness.  Take this time for training at least a month before the trip. Plan to take a different response to a tantrum.

1. Treat the tantrum like a dead tennis ball. Ignore it or remove Tammy Tantrum from situation. If in public, take Tammy to the car or a restroom. This is called taking time for training.

If at home, give Tammy a choice: “Either quiet down or go to your room until you settle down.” If Tammy is pre-verbal, put her in a playpen. If Tammy doesn’t choose, make the decision for her and separate her.

Empower Timmy Temper with choices: either sit by the window or the middle of the back seat. You can have vanilla or chocolate ice cream. Go to bed and stay there or I will shut the door and keep it shut until you’re asleep. When Timmy has choices, he feels more in control.

Ensure you are giving Tammy sufficient positive attention at neutral times so she does not resort to temper tantrums to be noticed by you. Spend at least 10-20 minutes a day of slow, uninterrupted one-on-one time with Tammy with your iPhone and Crackberry turned off.

Use the same strategies during the vacation. Take time for training. Give Timmy Temper choices: either stop the tantrum or we will leave the situation and go back to the hotel room/boat cabin/rental car, no matter how inconvenient for the parent.

Giving in to the tantrum will only prove to Timmy Temper that tantrums are a good strategy worth repeating. Be kind & firm. Don’t let Timmy get over-tired and resort to a temper tantrum. Hire sitters or take frequent rests to respect the child’s schedule.

Parents can train themselves to respond differently to tantrums and make them history. Timmy Temper and Tammy Tantrum can be trained.