Guest Author - Vannie Ryanes
The next time your child throws a temper tantrum, try giving a hug instead of a lecture. Hugs can be surprisingly effective in curtailing a child's a tantrum.
I recall a long ago traumatic trip to Chuck E. Cheese's for a day of pizza and family fun. One of our children threw an awful tantrum and lay flat on the floor while crying hysterically; needless to say everyone around us turned to watch. Coaxing, threats of spanking, etc., did not work, in desperation and embarrassment, I bent down to our little one's level and said "Give me a hug and tell me what's wrong." For some reason that strategy worked. There was still some sniffling, but nothing more.
Misbehavior is never acceptable but there are times when a hug can help to diffuse a child's hurt or anger; thus, making the child more willing to cooperate and listen to what you have to say. Let your child express his feelings and ask questions. Like adults, children do better when they feel respected.
Sometimes a child feels disrespected, embarrassed or ignored by a parent or other adult. How many times have you seen a child trying to get an adults attention, to no avail? Tantrums are a sure way that children can make themselves heard whatever consequence that follows.
Throw your crying child off guard by gentle hugging and asking quietly "why are you crying, what‘s wrong?" You may be surprised by the answer. It may be something simple or there may be a real problem that needs to be addressed.
If your child is prone to temper tantrums when you are out it may be that he or she understands that you will give in to demands more easily when you are shopping. Children usually know what they can get away with and with whom.
Perhaps tantrums, tears and bargaining have become part of your daily routine. Don't allow yourself to become an enabler of bad behavior by rewarding it. "If I cry I will get what I want." If I give her a cookie she will stop crying."
Does a hug and reasoning always work? No way. How boring life would be if it that is all it took. When children are very young, life with them is an adventure, treasure it. However, helping your child get away from temper tantrums early on, will help later in life as an adult. Tantrums, anger and pouting are never looked upon as a positive trait in a relationship or in the workplace.