Tantrums and meltdowns, especially in public can piss off even the most cool and patient parents. Between the ages of 1-7, nearly all the kids express their needs and anger by screaming, crying, kicking and throwing items. What you as a parent, need to understand and accept is, just because your kid has a major meltdown they are not brats. They are normal kids who are struggling to understand how to deal with the emotions. They are expressing their frustration in the only way they know – crying and screaming. But what are you supposed to do when you are out at a birthday party or a friends place and they have a tantrum?
Do not ignore them. Stay Calm. Lets say, you are at a supermarket and your kid is crying hard so that you get her a Kinder Joy. What most parents, do is ignore the kids tantrums thinking they will stop crying by themselves. It is important to acknowledge their emotional state so that the situation does not escalate. If you are going to be totally chill and calm this will only frustrate them more.
Validate their feelings. This doesn’t mean you will have to agree with them. Remove them from the area first and make them stand in a corner. After, they cool down a bit, offer them to help you put the groceries in the trolley or anything which will distract them and absorb their attention for a few moments. If possible, give your child an alternative. For example: “You can’t have chocolates daily. Can I get you a strawberry yoghurt instead?”
Delay Punishment Communication at the right time is important. The way your kid reacts depends upon how to communicate. Wait for them to calm down a bit so that they will listen to you. Else, they are anyways not gonna listen to you when they are wailing. If you will need to punish them or ground them, do not do it immediately. They are already going through huge waves of emotions, and punishing them will only add more frustration. If only the situation goes haywire, consider punishing them immediately.
Warn Them Firmly Once your back home, talk about it. Do not give in. Advise them firmly that such behaviour will not be accepted in future and they will be punished severely if they continue to be stubborn. In case he is in an outburst again, tell him in a gentle tone that you know he can behave himself because he is good boy and reassure them that you are not mad at them.
What if all fails? Sometimes, the situation will be out of hand. Try staying calm and do not get embarrassed. Tantrums are an opportunity for your kids to learn about them emotions and how to deal with them. Expressing their emotions is healthy and good. Your kid will outgrow regular tantrums as they grow up. Till then may the odds be ever in your favour.