Temper tantrums are one of the most frustrating times during toddlerhood. So, why do little kids throw these bursts of rage in the first place? Are tantrums designed for the toddler’s emotional benefit, or are they really just trying to get their parent’s attention? Plus, what are some simple ways to diffuse a toddler ready to explode in a serious meltdown?
Toddlers and Tantrums
Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.
HEATHER LAMPRON: Temper tantrums are one of the most frustrating aspects of toddler hood both for parents and for kids. What is behind kids acting out like this and why do they have tantrums? How do parents better understand and deal with this behavior.
Today we’ll be looking at toddlers and tantrums. I’m Heather Lampron and this is Parent Savers.
JOHNER RIEHL: Welcome everybody once again to Parent Savers. We’re broadcasting from the Birth Education Centre of San Diego. Parent Savers is your weekly online on-the-go support group for parents from the new born years to kindergarten. I’m your host, Johner Riehl. Thanks again to all of you loyal listeners who join us weekend and week out. Thanks also to those of you who are listening for the first time.
As you may know, you can join our Parent Saver’s Club and receive access to special bonus content after each new show plus special giveaways and discounts from time-to-time. If you haven’t already, please make sure to download the free Parent Saver’s app available in the Android and iTunes Market place. You can automatically have access to all the great parenting advice and conversation we have on Parent Savers as well as the special bonus member content.
Let’s start this week’s conversation by meeting everyone who’s in the room to talk today about: “Toddlers and tantrums. For starters, I’m your host Johner. I have three boys; at this point a seven year old, a five year old and a two year old. It’s the two year old that when you think of this tantrum stuff with for sure.
SUNNY GAULT: I’m Sunny. I am mommy to four-under-four. So, my house is insane. I’m the owner of New Mommy Media which produces Parent Savers as well as Preggie Pals, The Boob Group and Twin Talks. So, my kids; let’s see – Sayer and Urban, those are my boys. They’re my oldest.
Sayer is 3 and Urban is almost 2 a couple of months from now, he’ll be two. Then, I’ve got identical twin girls. One of which is in the studio with me. Johner asked me a little bit ago which one it was and I can’t tell you because I didn’t put the proper wrist bands on them. They look exactly the same. So, Ainsley and Addison are their names. They are two and a half months old.
JOHNER RIEHL: So, we need to do a viral video called: “Four under four.” We need to make a rap – four under four. We need to trademark that. We need to get four under four.com.
SUNNY GAULT: I know. I actually already look for fourunderfourunder.com and someone else has it. I was really bummed.
JOHNER RIEHL: All right, well I hope I didn’t distract people to live a bad place. Hopefully, it’s hilarious but yes, we need to do something with that – that’s hilarious.
ERIN ESTEVES: Well, I’m Erin Esteves also known as OG Mama Sita that’s for Officially Geriatric because I am 43 soon to be 44 and I have a two year old. I’m crazy.
JOHNER RIEHL: You both had separate tantrums right?
ERIN ESTEVES: Yes. I don’t know who’s are more epic but definitely, yes.
JOHNER RIEHL: Great. Then, we’re joined by Heather as well on the studio.
HEATHER LAMPRON: I’m Heather Lampron and I am parent to three young adults – 23, 22 and 21. Something like that, I don’t know. I can’t keep track on how old they are.
JOHNER RIEHL: At some point, they were three under three.
HEATHER LAMPRON: Exactly.
ERIN ESTEVES: They still have their own temper tantrums right?
HEATHER LAMPRON: You know they are pretty much doing well right now. Through those teen years and some of the young adults kind of goes definitely but that’s a part of me having the temper tantrums.
JOHNER RIEHL: I know. It should be a great conversation.
JOHNER RIEHL: Before we get started, we review apps from time-to-time here on Parent Savers. But, today, we’re going to be looking at an app that’s actually pretty relevant to our topic today. It’s called Tantrum Tracker Lite. This one’s available for free in the app store.
There’s a premium version for iPhone and iPad that’s $ 0.99. It’s from Grant Technology, that’s the one we’re talking about and the icon. We’ll have this on the episode page. The icon is kind of like a little person. It interestingly, the person is made up of puzzle pieces similar to the autism logo.
But, what you can do in this app is: “You can track. It’s kind of like a calendar app in a way except instead of setting a fun appointment in the future; you’re setting a temper tantrum that’s currently happening.” What you’ll do is: “You’ll start the timer but you can select some of the different things that are happening like the location.” I’m told there’s like doctor’s office on there or playground or home.
HEATHER LAMPRON: Grocery store.
JOHNER RIEHL: Grocery store. There’s also a – the precipitator and the meditator so you can identify some of the different aspects of it. So, what do you guys think about this?
SUNNY GAULT: I got a question. Can you schedule the temper tantrums because I can pretty much predict when my child is going to throw one?
JOHNER RIEHL: Well, but I think that’s the point of itself too right?
HEATHER LAMPRON: Exactly.
JOHNER RIEHL: I think maybe see patterns.
HEATHER LAMPRON: See, when it happens then you can plan ahead. So, try to prevent that the next time.
ERIN ESTEVES: So, if we know that every time you go to Grandma Janet’s house,
JOHNER RIEHL: Right.
ERIN ESTEVES: Yes, the kid blows a gasket then you can try to figure out.
JOHNER RIEHL: See, I would be worry if I use this for an extensive of a period of time. Then, it wouldn’t be a tantrum tracker, it would be the: “I’m a horrible parent tracker.” Here are all the examples of why I am failing at this.
ERIN ESTEVES: No. But, at least you know when your kid goes to therapy; they will have a real great calendar of events leading up to their [inaudible 00:05:19]
HEATHER LAMPRON: It would keep you busy while the tantrums’ going on – at least, you’ll have something to keep you occupied.
JOHNER RIEHL: As opposed to giving into their fool-hardy wimps.
HEATHER LAMPRON: Hopefully, it will be over soon.
SUNNY GAULT: Well, is this something to have it like a professional can look at and even if the parent can’t quite diagnosed what’s going on, would that be helpful?
HEATHER LAMPRON: Very much.
SUNNY GAULT: Okay.
HEATHER LAMPRON: Because the tantrums are so intense and they affect us so much that a lot of times we think that they happen much more frequently than they do. It can be two big tantrums this week. In your mind, you’re thinking: “My child tantrums all the time and when you go, maybe you’ll be talking to a doctor or parenting coach.” But, really it happen twice and you can kind of pin point what happen, where it was and make a plan to try to prevent it.
SUNNY GAULT: Yes, because I know for me as a parent, I dwell on those. It’s like: “That happening, I may think it just happen like yesterday really it was a week agotoddler'sand I’m still like blaming my son for throwing this tantrum. Because you’re right, we think about the negative so much.
HEATHER LAMPRON: There are so intense. They really affect us.
JOHNER RIEHL: I think that the neat thing about it is you’re actually identifying force to kind of think: “Wait, what’s causing this? What’s happening? How are we kind of getting out of it?”
ERIN ESTEVES: Yes, also I think it gives you an opportunity to grade the level of intensity. So, you’re like saying: “Maybe, I over reacted at that point and last time he threw a tantrum like this it was only a four on the scale.” So, I think it’s important because you can also gauge our own responses to them.
HEATHER LAMPRON: Exactly.
JOHNER RIEHL: So, overall I think it’s definitely caught, I would give it thumbs up from my perspective, what do you guys think?
HEATHER LAMPRON: Thumbs up.
ERIN ESTEVES: Thumbs up flying.
SUNNY GAULT: I like it, thumbs up.
JOHNER RIEHL: This was the light version that we checked out. It has ads in it. If you want to pay the $ 0.99 that removes the ads – that’s something else you could consider as well. But, this was for Tantrum Tracker Lite from Grant Technologies; thumbs up all around for Parent Savers.
JOHNER RIEHL: All right, time to talk about today’s topic: “Toddlers and Tantrums.” Today, we’re talking with Heather Lampron. Thanks for joining us.
HEATHER LAMPRON: Thanks for having me. I’m happy to be here.
JOHNER RIEHL: So, why do kids have tempers in the first place? What’s going on with these kids are going to have tantrums? Is it because they hate us?
HEATHER LAMPRON: Well, besides there’s additional reasons.
SUNNY GAULT: So, yes.
HEATHER LAMPRON: In the moment, they’re might behaving everything that’s happening. Toddlers are developmentally wired to explore. They’re beginning to individuate. So, they’re getting to everything and nature is pushing them to do that. Their biology is pushing them to do that. We get in their way.
So, they also are developmentally have not – they don’t have coping skills yet. They don’t know how to express their needs. They don’t know how to handle frustration. They don’t know how to calm themselves down.
So of course, they’re going to have a temper tantrum. Many older kids, many adults don’t really have those skills quite yet. So, it can’t be too hard on little 1 to 3 year olds that haven’t developed the skills.
JOHNER RIEHL: Yes, we have those expectations that: “Listen dude. Buck up, know how to deal with it.” Get through it, that’s totally not reasonable.
HEATHER LAMPRON: Exactly.
JOHNER RIEHL: But, it’s something I’ve realized with our third, Zyler who is two now. He’s speaking a tongue right now. I think it might be doo-doo – all the brothers or whatever. I think that every kid’s different because our middle child, he was barely speaking even when he was three.
Zyler’s only 2 1/2 now. The way that he’s easy able to express things to us and the emotions makes me realize, “My gosh. Whitaker when he was young was having these same thoughts.” He just couldn’t express that.
HEATHER LAMPRON: He didn’t handle verbalize.
JOHNER RIEHL: And get them out. So, that’s kind of behind a lot of
HEATHER LAMPRON: Yes and another thing is: “The parent reaction.” Kids feel attention, they feel our stress. When we’re upset, we add to their upset. So, that’s a big factor. They really need us to be the calming part of the equation which is a very difficult task for a parent.
ERIN ESTEVES: Yes.
HEATHER LAMPRON: You also mention feelings. That’s a big one. Feelings, they are so intense that children don’t know how to express it. They don’t know how to handle it. From the time that their babies, we rush in when they’re crying. We rush in to fix it, to help them, to stop it.
But, as they become in toddlerhood, it starting to become their responsibility but we still want to fix it, to stop it, to do anything to prevent them from having these feelings. So, big factors just really allow them to have their feelings.
JOHNER RIEHL: Tantrums are okay.
HEATHER LAMPRON: Yeah. There are different ones and as you track them, you can see the patterns. But, sometimes it’s really not a tantrum that’s just them saying: “I’m really angry or I’m really frustrated.” It might have tears that we go it. It might have screaming or lying on the floor but they’re just expressing their feelings.
If we don’t interfere with that, they get down expressing their feelings, they calm down and then they can maybe as they become verbal, we can start to teach them how to handle those feelings.
ERIN ESTEVES: So, really it’s our fault.
HEATHER LAMPRON: It’s like that, I would say.
ERIN ESTEVES: So, it’s up to us to understand that. This is something that I remind myself is that: “He’s not giving me a hard time. He’s having a hard time.”
JOHNER RIEHL: Yes.
HEATHER LAMPRON: That’s a great way to look at it.
ERIN ESTEVES: I think we just have to really remember that. We’re embarrassed by it though too; especially, if this happen in public.
HEATHER LAMPRON: Public tantrums are very difficult on the parent.
JOHNER RIEHL: Right.
HEATHER LAMPRON: Very much.
JOHNER RIEHL: Well, a lot of them I think is: “Parent’s projecting how bad it’s feeling for other people.” But then, I heard the stories or some other people – I hear side comments or someone on Facebook like: “Whenever people control you babies. Get them out of the store.”
So, I think it’s one comment like that, totally undoes any support that you get from five people. Hey, we’ve been there brother. We’ve been there sister like you’ll make it through.
ERIN ESTEVES: Rock on.
JOHNER RIEHL: But, you’re 1 % that is really critical of it and it makes you feel just question everything.
HEATHER LAMPRON: In airplane, you can’t get off. You can’t – if their seat belt light is on, that’s to me probably one of the worst
JOHNER RIEHL: Right, you can’t explain that.
HEATHER LAMPRON: Yes, I did have that experience; 18 months old, flying back to Houston.
JOHNER RIEHL: So, we’re talking about: “It’s up to us to figure it out but our tantrums designed for us or well kids have tantrums alone?” I think about there was a really good – we watch funny videos as a family. There was a funny video of this kid having a temper tantrum and the dad would film it. He would be like: “Wa.”
Then, the dad would walk to another room and the kid will be quiet, walk up, walk over, get in front of his dad and get back on the floor. Start pouting and kicking and just go room to room. That’s always – that video has actually kind of stuck with me to think that they’re actually kind of doing it for us. It’s that a little bit of what’s happening.
HEATHER LAMPRON: You know, it’s a little bit of it. But, from the beginning, a tantrum is simply: “A child is losing it.” It’s not manipulation. It’s not the emotional black-mail. But, we can train them to
JOHNER RIEHL: Got it.
HEATHER LAMPRON: If we’d respond in a way that feeds into that either by just giving undo attention and we’re there and we’re going to do anything to stop it. Another way that we contribute to it is just: “Being a part of it. Being very verbal or trying to ask them questions, talk to them.”
When the toddler is in a tantrum, they are in fight or flight mode. Their reasoning brain is not working. You cannot reason with them. You cannot talk to them at all while they’re in it. So, the way that you’re going to handle tantrums is either before you’re going to plan, you’re going to – maybe get those circumstances, you know it’s more likely.
You could begin working with kids 18 months by two for sure. You can begin to work with them later after the tantrum.
JOHNER RIEHL: Well, let’s talk about that. Let’s visit about dealing about the tantrums after we take a break. But, for now, let’s talk about avoiding them in the first place or mitigating them.
HEATHER LAMPRON: So, the first and most important thing is: “Know your child.” That’s where even this tantrum tracker will come into play. You’re going to track things that are upsetting to your child because some kids will have a big fearful reaction when they go to the doctor or a big overwhelmed reaction when they go to a store or a birthday party or somewhere a lot of things are going on.
So, if you know that then, you can begin to work with your child – either you change the circumstance or you start to teach your child. You can even role-play with your child before you go to the doctor. Let’s pretend we’re going to the doctor and set up teddy bears to be the waiting room. Here’s the nurse and the doctor and so here’s what’s going to happen.
ERIN ESTEVES: I’m sorry to interrupt. But, then theory that sounds great. But, if I can’t see my kid not only sitting through that but even being able to comprehend what I’m doing.
JOHNER RIEHL: But maybe it’s just part like any play or any interaction that you’re having. It’s not a formal: “Hey, it’s role-playing time.” As you’re playing, create a room in there.
HEATHER LAMPRON: Yes, pretend. When they’re ready
ERIN ESTEVES: Okay.
HEATHER LAMPRON: They’re 2 1/2 for sure and it depends on the child. You say to your third child is a little bit more verbal
JOHNER RIEHL: Right.
HEATHER LAMPRON: One are that my middle son have a tough time is – where every Saturday we would go to visit his great grand ma. She would kind of jump and glum on to the children and he would withstand off or even have a little reaction. So, we role-played. Okay, knock on the door, grandma’s going to open it and you run and give her a hug.
So, now he has more control instead of her grabbing him. We see her every week and we think: “He knows granny but a week is a long time or if a few weeks go by and then all of a sudden where at this lady’s house – she’s grabbing on him. So, when he got to run up and hug her; it prevented the whole problem that we had.”
JOHNER RIEHL: You know even when you were running through all of these scenarios when you have to prepare the role-play for, it makes me realize that I have this assumption that we’re all just in our family bubble and it’s the same bubble that we’re in a car or if we go to Costco which is a big scary place with lights and all or the grocery store which has all these colours.
Any of all of these different places and that maybe as a parent, I am maybe some others aren’t doing a good enough job of thinking about it from their perspective of all the sights and sounds that are about to be overwhelmed with. They don’t know what the heck’s going on. There just the long for the run. They just wake up and: “We’re gran.”
HEATHER LAMPRON: Mature like the big part of tantrums tends to be the toddler’s tired. They’re hungry. They’re ill. They’re just not feeling well or they’re hypersensitive. So, some kids can’t handle the feel of certain clothes or things like that.
So, tantrum will happen and in that case, that’s their physical needs and you simply take care of their needs. It’s not misbehaviour. Children in America do not get enough sleep. That’s a big factor – tired children. So, it’s really important to get kids to bed early and really let them get enough sleep.
JOHNER RIEHL: Listen, I think you could get every single parent listening on board with the movement to support more sleep for kids, more sleep.
HEATHER LAMPRON: Start school later and
JOHNER RIEHL: Do bed time earlier too right?
HEATHER LAMPRON: Yes. Sleep is really important. If you’re child is tired and has a tantrum, you can’t take that as something that their doing wilfully.
JOHNER RIEHL: We’ve got to break that kid union that is demanding more Awake Hours for toddlers and newborns.
ERIN ESTEVES: It’s the lizard brain. We can’t rationalize with it. It just doesn’t work.
HEATHER LAMPRON: The other thing is that – when they are having an intense feeling either you simply told them no and they want what they want and they just have a big reaction. That’s okay. We feel that they should take our no and be happy about it.
JOHNER RIEHL: Right.
HEATHER LAMPRON: But, we’re not happy. If our boss tells us no or spouse tells us no – or our kids tell us no; we’re not happy about it. Let them simply be unhappy about it and give empathy.
JOHNER RIEHL: Right.
HEATHER LAMPRON: The other big factor for preventing tantrums mentioned earlier is: “The parent reaction.” We’re asking a lot of parents to consciously parent to make their decisions proactively instead of simply reacting unconsciously and we’re asking you to look at children as just little people that our behaving to communicate to you. Whereas in the past, we would look at pretty much any type of behaviour we didn’t like as misbehaviour or bad.
These children are not bad. They are children that need to be taught so we discipline. We teach our children. So, we need to teach them how-to go through these social situations. How to handle their feelings and it starts with us – so, the biggest factor for parenting is: “For us to nurture ourselves.”
Self-care is so important, you can’t be at your best when you’re exhausted and it’s really hard for mothers and fathers with young ones to take that time for themselves because they feel selfish. But, it’s a gift to your child. If I do yoga and I come down, I come back and I’m so different with my children – if I’m stressed out and anxious then their feeling my stress and my anxiety.
ERIN ESTEVES: Right, it’s the oxygen mask and the airplanes and all of that. That you have to put them at – if the cabin pressure or the suddenly plummet, you put the oxygen mask on yourself before putting it on someone else because if you pass out, how can you help them?
JOHNER RIEHL: You have to be at your best.
ERIN ESTEVES: You have to be at your best.
JOHNER RIEHL: I think that’s one of those things that you maybe though bucked up earlier where it’s great to say: “Okay, perfect. This is a really, really hard point.” We’re not trying to say: “Dude, just go yoga.” Do yoga tantrums. That’s right. It’s hard.
SUNNY GAULT: Meditate man.
HEATHER LAMPRON: Yes.
JOHNER RIEHL: I mean it’s hard.
HEATHER LAMPRON: Hours a day.
JOHNER RIEHL: Yes, this is hard but I think what you’re saying Heather is that: “It’s worth, you have to make it a priority and you got to figure out a way to get yourself charged and what you need to be at the best for your family.” That would have a positive impact on a number of aspects of your life including hopefully, those tantrums.
HEATHER LAMPRON: It’s a gift to your child like if you think that way then you won’t feel so selfish.
ERIN ESTEVES: For me, it’s his bed time. That’s it. I’m sorry mister. It’s time for bed because mama needs some time. I tell myself: “There’s nothing I can do if he’s crying like we’ve gone through all of these close scenarios.” Okay, he has to be able to have time for himself. I have to have time to myself.
HEATHER LAMPRON: Yes, that’s a great way to propose to children is: “You’re saying – it’s your bed time, I need my time.” A lot of times, you’re going to put it on the child. You need to go to bed. You need to sleep. You-you-you but really we need to ask for what we want.
I need alone time tonight and you need to be in your room. I can’t make you sleep, put you in your room.
ERIN ESTEVES: I tell them: “You don’t have to sleep.” I mean he’s only two-some. He doesn’t really understand but I tell them: “You don’t have to sleep but you have to stay in bed.”
SUNNY GAULT: Yes, now I actually think that’s a really good point. In fact with my oldest, Sayer – I think it was just yesterday. I don’t know my days run together with twins. I can’t think straight. Anyways, he wanted me to do something and I just needed sometime.
The words actually came out of my mouth: “Sayer, I need you to take care of that situation right now because mommy needs some time.” After I said it, I’m like: “Wow, I just said what I needed as suppose to, you just said Heather. You need to do this and you need to stay away from your brother.” No, I think I was having a little breakdown. No, I need this. But it was kind of therapeutic.
HEATHER LAMPRON: You know, you’re also modelling to children how to take care of themselves. We’re mothers, we’re not teaching them to value themselves because they aren’t going to do what they see us do.
So, if I say: “I’m getting really upset and I don’t want to say anything mean. I need to take a break. I’m going to go and sit in the rocking chair for two minutes and then I’ll come back.” You don’t even have to teach your children to do it. Often times, they’ll start doing that. Mommy, I need to take a break and they’ll go sit in the rocking chair.
JOHNER RIEHL: Yes, I think we forget how much modelling it can play a role in a positive aspect and in the negative.
HEATHER LAMPRON: Absolutely.
JOHNER RIEHL: All right, that’s great stuff about trying to prevent these things but let’s take a quick break. I know we have a lot of questions from our virtual panellists, people that gives us a question on Facebook and Twitter so we’ll get to those. As well as talk about: “How to deal with these tantrums when they’re happening.” Maybe, it’s easy as saying: “Ignore it.” I think it is a little more complex than that. So, we’ll see.
JOHNER RIEHL: Alright, welcome back everybody. Today, we’re talking about toddlers and tantrums. So, we tried to avoid the tantrum but they still happen. It’s kind of inevitable that they’re going to happen. So, let’s talk about: “Dealing with tantrums as they happen.”
HEATHER LAMPRON: So, the first thing is: “To know they’re going to happen.” Instead of: when it happens, going at: “I can’t believe it happened. It shouldn’t happen.” Plan ahead. No, this year I will plan for 12 tantrums a year. If you have fewer at least know that it’s going to happen.
One way or the other, whatever you think is going to happen, just know that it’s going to happen so when it does, you’re not going to be so: “I can’t believe this is happening. I must stop it.”
JOHNER RIEHL: It’s like an earthquake right?
HEATHER LAMPRON: Exactly. Plan ahead
JOHNER RIEHL: At some point, it’s going to happen. It’s a broad range but it’s going to happen.
HEATHER LAMPRON: At some point; so, then when it happens, you first thing you need to do is calm yourself. You need to respond to this and imagine an alarm clock is going off and it’s – you hit the off and it doesn’t go off. You will do anything that you can to get that alarm clock to stop going off and you’re going to keep hitting the off button but it’s broken, it’s not working. That’s how a tantrum is to us. We want to react. We want to do anything we can to stop it.
But, the only thing that we really can do is to: “Calm down and let it happen.” Probably, the most important piece after calm down is: “Reduce your words.” If you can just don’t use any words at all. Remember we talked about the child is in this big hijack. They’re in the fighter flight. The reason the brain isn’t working so no words can go in except for being more stimulus that’s going to get them more upset.
So, the one thing is you can either let them tantrum until they’re calm. If you’re in a store, if you’re somewhere with you aren’t there safe or you don’t feel comfortable, pick them up and take them. Put them in a car but just do this with empathy. In your mind, you’re just feeling empathy – it must be really hard to have this intense feeling.
You’re not going to say it but if you have empathy and calm when you pick them up; you’re not going to grab them, you’re not doing this in the store. You’re embarrassing me. You’re going to pick them up like you’re really upset. Let’s go in the car to calm down. If you can’t just leave them where they are either in the living room floor just let them go. They really would just go a few minutes.
ERIN ESTEVES: So, I have a couple of notes here that I took from like I said all of the Facebook comments and questions. So, I just put a list of actions together. So, these are from Andrea, Haven, Monique and Jane. They say that: “Their kids do everything from throwing, slapping, screaming, and planking”
SUNNY GAULT: Planking?
ERIN ESTEVES: Planking – like going stiff and refusing to be put in the car seat or the high chair.
SUNNY GAULT: The limp noodle that’s the other one.
ERIN ESTEVES: Yes, or the limp noodle.
JOHNER RIEHL: Is there t-bowing on these things?
HEATHER LAMPRON: My gosh! At least they’re not doing the milk thing right?
ERIN ESTEVES: Well, some of them do I guess where they pour milk on themselves.
ERIN ESTEVES: Their questions are
HEATHER LAMPRON: What would I do?
ERIN ESTEVES: What would I do because redirecting doesn’t always work.
HEATHER LAMPRON: Exactly.
ERIN ESTEVES: How do I quiet them without giving in?
HEATHER LAMPRON: If you listen to all of those scenarios, you can tell that – that involves an upset child with the parent interacting and the child is even further resisting that interaction. So, that’s where the best thing is to sit down on the floor with them.
If they won’t get in the car, if it’s a grass-area; lay them on the grass and sit right there with them. At home, if they are throwing things like that and you can set up an area that is kind of devoid of things of that
ERIN ESTEVES: A potty room.
HEATHER LAMPRON: Yes, if it’s in their own bedroom or something like that but if you plan this ahead of time with them that when you have the tantrum, this is what will do or this is what I will do. I will go into the bathroom until you come down because I can’t take it.
I’m going to get too involve if you feel the child is safe – or you can say: “I’m going to lay you down on the living room carpet and I’ll sit on the couch and when you’re done, we can talk. Just whatever you can do to kind of let them go because if they’re doing it, like there is a learned pattern to where they’re trying to get either attention or reaction from you or get you to give in.
Then, they’ll do the exactly like this scenario like you have mentioned Johner where the child is having a tantrum, all that. It’s videotaping but as soon as that turns away, he stops. So, if you can tell that this is a tantrum, that the child is learned to try to get a reaction from you and overtime you have given a reaction, now you are going to make this change. It will take a little time.
As you avoid giving undo attention or giving in then they’re not getting any pay for this behaviour. It just won’t even if they want to have a tantrum for two minutes and I’ll sit here and wait and they get up and role dead.
One thing that you can actually can do – I’ve seen it in work road and my middle son is to make a little pop tent or a little play tent, you can go in there and pretty much role around, scream, cry, yell – whatever you need to do and come on out when you’re ready; just a self-quieting area.
ERIN ESTEVES: So, what I’m coming away with is that: “It’s a lot like falling down; or so I rode horses a lot growing up and one of the things that you learned is that when you get thrown or when you fall, you just got to go with it because if you fight it, it’s worse.”
The same thing being in the ocean again and the wave tumbles you, if you try and fight it, it’s going to make it worse. So, I guess you just got to roll with it until it’s over and just pick yourself up and dust off.
JOHNER RIEHL: How do you know when it’s over? We can’t teach him in the moment but then, when is it kind of okay to start?
HEATHER LAMPRON: It’s called the homeostasis. As humans, we have a set point and when we get upset, for adults – if we get angry, usually it takes about 20 minutes for all those hormones that adrenalin rush to work through our bodies. So, in about 20 minutes we’re back to equilibrium.
So, the child and you can really feel it that – for if you have that few couple of minutes of the little half crying and sniffling and finally when they’re back to equilibrium, then the first thing you want to do is: “Reconnect with them.” Let them know that no matter what, you love them.
You don’t want to be pushing them away or send them to time out or time them. You’re bad and I don’t want to be around you because you’re like that. Really, physical touch, if they don’t want to be hugged just kind of if you can sit to where like where your thighs are touching or just near them so that their energy is really feeling your connection and just really empathy.
Let them know like: “That must have been really scary.” Why are you so upset? Even when they’re not verbal, they can feel the energy that comes from us and over time, as they become over it. But, you already have this pattern set so that when they’re upset, they know that you’re not going to reject them but you’re going to help them.
One thing that you can do afterwards maybe it’s right after they completely back to equilibrium or maybe it’s the next day or later that day. I remember that you have that big temper tantrum yesterday. You start asking them those curiosity questions like what do you think was going on or what was upsetting you?
Really, fun thing that you can teach kids to do is the deep breathing and what I like to do is tell them: “Pretend that you have a flower in one hand and a cupcake with a birthday candle on the other hand and you’re going to smell the flowers.” Go and then blow out the candle.
JOHNER RIEHL: That’s really good.
ERIN ESTEVES: Yes.
HEATHER LAMPRON: Maybe they’re doing it afterwards but then, you can tell them: “Next time you start to feel like that, maybe come and get me and we can do it together and things like that.” So, really a deep breathing is a big one.
ERIN ESTEVES: If I can right now – one of my other questions for you is: “What if only one parent can console a child?” For example, my husband anything that he tries to do in the boy just won’t have him. He’ll kick. He’ll scream. He’ll hit. My poor husband, he just gets exasperated and he walks away because he keeps trying in the kid.
HEATHER LAMPRON: Well, that is such an interesting word that you used because they don’t need to be consoled. So, not to be sexist but if some people
JOHNER RIEHL: So, let’s be sexist.
HEATHER LAMPRON: Let’s be sexist. Yes, exactly. Some people are better with feelings. Some people are better at actually giving empathy. There’s kind of like the almost an old saying that: “Men want to fix it.” Sometimes they want to do it with their children too.
Whatever it is that upsets them, you can’t have that because you’re not old enough and that can hurt you or any kind of rationalization, that’s just going to just exacerbate the situation. So, really like let them know: “You don’t have to fix it.” You didn’t do anything wrong. All you have to do – but we want to just teach our children emotional literacy and 18 months is not too young.
So, you can start giving words, giving names to emotions and let them know that these emotions are okay.
ERIN ESTEVES: I think you’re giving me emotional literacy.
SUNNY GAULT: Right.
JOHNER RIEHL: Right. What’s truly resonating with me is the idea of like – because even talking about temper tantrums like I could almost feel my body tense up thinking about tantrums and trying to just relax, ride the wave and know that they’re going to be reading of our emotions. I also really like the smell the flowers and blow out the candle.
HEATHER LAMPRON: Yes.
JOHNER RIEHL: The other day, just a quick story. Zyler had a huge temper tantrum about tennis shoes or not tennis shoes or something. I did kind of let it right out. He calms himself down and he comes out to me afterwards and he goes: “Daddy, I messed up. I’m sorry.”
It melted my heart. But, those moments where I realize the kids are having these emotions. They just don’t know how to express it. I would have done anything for him at that point. It’s okay.
HEATHER LAMPRON: That’s okay. Adults would do that. If I lost my temper with my husband, later I go and I’m really sorry. But if he told me that I had to go a time out or I was grounded for a week then I probably wouldn’t be very sorry.
SUNNY GAULT: Yes.
ERIN ESTEVES: Yes.
JOHNER RIEHL: All right, I think we covered a lot of ground there.
HEATHER LAMPRON: We did.
JOHNER RIEHL: That was a really fun that we got. I’ve got some cool questions for the bonus content as well that we’ll get to a bit. Thanks so much for joining us Heather. For information about this topic for you listeners or about any of the stuff that we talked about or the app that we talked about: “Temper Tantrum Tracker Lite” please visit the episode page on our website.
We’re going to continue the conversation for members of our Parent Savers club. Afterwards, we’re going to talk about: “When we should maybe call in a doctor about temper tantrums and when a good time to do that would be.” So, stay tune for that.
If you’re a member of the club, if not and you’re interested in that info; you should think about joining. So, for more information about the club, visit our website – www.ParentSavers.com .
JOHNER RIEHL: Before we wrap up today’s show, here’s blogger David Vienna sharing: “The realities of parenting” from his blog – The Daddy Complex.
DAVID VIENNA: Hi Parent Savers. This is The Daddy Complex. I’m David Vienna, father of twin boys and if my experience has thought me anything about parenting is that: “I know nothing about parenting.” If you’re expecting your first child, I’m sure some of us told you in passing that along welcoming a new life in your house; you would also welcome a hoard of germs.
We were told that in the boys chart going to preschool is it the cold’s pretty frequently. It shorten out the word “frequently” doesn’t accurately convey exactly how often a child can summon illness. It’s just not colds, those no sleep, multiple cries now.
First, let me tell you this and please understand it’s not an exaggeration. Your child will have a runny nose pretty much from age 2 to 3. I don’t mean off and on. I mean a year long, runny nose. Perhaps longer, the only variables are how much it runs and the colour of the snot.
Second, whatever bug they pick up: “You will get.” There’s no avoiding it. They touch everything. They want to share your food, you home will become a [inaudible] worst case scenario and the frequent thing that I mention: “The illnesses will come on average of every month sometimes more than that.”
I just got a little of my third cold or sore throat or whatever in six weeks. Now, my wife has it and it’s knocked her out which brings me to my third and final point. These illnesses like nothing like you’ve ever experienced. Somehow the colds and stomach bugs toddlers picked up headed out exponentially greater.
When your child gets a cold, you will maybe have a restless night and a cough. When you get it, it will be captain trips and end-of-days style plague that will leave you whimpering for help through clogged sinuses and ravaged throat. Of all the illnesses my boys have brought home, I only managed to avoid getting one. That’s because I lock myself in the bedroom with a week supplies videos and the complete DVD collection of Space.
Yes, you should wash your hands often. By the way, another thing that they don’t tell you is that you will wash your hands so much, your skin will literally crack open and bleed, not kidding. By the time that you see your child’s needs, it’s already too late.
Washing your hands at that point is just to teach them how to do it. You might also show that how to work the can opener so that they can feed you spaghetti when you’re too weak to feed yourself. Check out more of my terrible advice www.TheDaddyComplex.com – the having post or on Twitter @thedaddycomplex.
You can also view episodes: “Fighting with babies.” My puppet web series for parents www.TheDaddyComplex.com/fwb and be sure to keep listening to Parent Savers for more fatherly tips.
JOHNER RIEHL: That wraps things up for Parent Savers today. Thanks so much for joining us. We appreciate you guys listening.
Don’t forget to check out our sister shows:
• Preggie Pals for expecting parents
• The Boob Group for moms who breastfeed their babies and
• Twin Talks for parents of multiples.
This is Parent Savers, empowering new parents.
This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and material contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, Medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problem or disease or prescribing any medications. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.
SUNNY GAULT: New Mommy Media is expanding our line up of shows for new and expecting parents. If you have an idea for a new series or if you’re a business or organization interested in joining our network of shows through a co-branded podcast, visit www.NewMommyMedia.com .
[End of Audio]