Tantrums are wild

I have a five year old grandson with ADHD who lives in the same house, so I oftentimes find myself facing tantrums. I thought I knew a lot about them from raising my own kids, but back then no one told me how to handle it, and I am sure there were many times I did it wrong. So, what do you do when your child is out of control and nothing seems to work? It all depends on your perspective. First of all, consider why the tantrum is occurring. Is it because the child wants something you are not giving him. “I want yogurt and I want it now.” “Nope, almost dinner time.” There are different steps you can take when you see the face begin to screw up and the lips begin to quiver. Acknowledge that the child wants something. “I understand you are hungry and want that yogurt, but dinner will be ready in 10 minutes and it is one of your favorites. It would be a shame if you spoiled your appetite and didn’t get to eat the macaroni and cheese I am making.” If that doesn’t work, let the child know you are not going to be a part of his tantrum. He can go to his room, or if there is another place he can have the trantrum where you don’t have to see it or listen to it, send him there. Don’t provide positive or negative feedback or attention. It does no good if you give in to what he wants, but it also does no good to scream and yell back, because you are demonstrating that you can have a tantrum too. He gets the attention either way that you are trying to avoid. If you think that he might want to ask for something because dinner is taking longer to prepare than you thought, you might head him off at the pass by saying something like “I bet you are getting hungry. I would really appreciate it if you could wait another ten minutes, because you will have a special meal then.” One of the things my daughter has done is to set the alarm on the stove to let my grandson know when to expect things like dinner or his bedtime. It really helps to keep the child from throwing tantrums when things happen when they are expected, not when they are surprised by the activity. They can prepare. Getting their toys together and changing into pajamas. It can become a productive, tantrumless routine. And once the child’s behavior begins to change, acknowledge it. “I really appreciate that you didn’t get angry because we had to go to the store and you wanted to stay and play.” Those are just a few suggestions to help you get your child beyond these loud and sometimes destructive behaviors.

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