Tuesday, April 5, 2011

When Temper Tantrums become a problem

Have you ever thought, I know I should not give in to my screaming, frustrated child, but I have got to get him settled down so I am not late? ?I can't jeopardize my job or my obligations because I need to spend 20 minutes disciplining. What are parents supposed to do? It can be a real challenge. I try to give incentives for good behavior. That seems to work best. And I never give in to a request when it includes wining or crying. I can't stand that. I make them ask me in a nice way. So, when my four-year-old throws a fit when I say he is done playing the Wii for the day, he often catches himself and fixes his behavior. He'll say, "Mom, can I please play one more game? Please? I will be so good and I am talking nicely." Geez! I want to reward him for being so polite, but I don't want him to play the Wii anymore. I try to come up with another reward for him, but that never seems to work. It is so hard being a parent.

FROM NBC: Many parents lose patience when their kids erupt into anger. But when is a temper tantrum more than a meltdown, and a sign of a serious problem? Child psychologist Dr. Alan Hilfer says children throw tantrums because they are either frustrated or want something they know they can't have. Dr. Alan Hilfer, Child Psychologist: "You have to be able to tell them unless you can get yourself under control and tell me what it is that you need, I'm not going to be able to help you and then kind of walk away without reinforcing it."

Which is easier said than done, says Helen Kuenstler. Her son Jack is almost three years old and can be quite vocal when he's not happy. "No! I wanna sit with you." That was his reaction to us setting up our interview, but Helen says that doesn't even come close to a real tantrum. Helen Kuenstler, Mother: "When he gets out of control, I ignore him. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't. Or sometimes I just give into whatever he wants cause it's easier."

Which is exactly what Dr. Hilfer says not to do.
Alan Hilfer, Child Psychologist: "Giving into tantrums usually reinforces that if they make enough fuss they get what they want, they do it more often." "And experts say tantrums are a normal part of the growing process, but if they continue as the child grows older that can lead to behavioral and social problems as adults."

Dr. Alan Hilfer, Child Psychologist: "Kids shouldn't be having tantrums in adolescence. They should have the ability to negotiate and express what they want certainly in their tween years."
Since Jack is a long way from his tween years, Helen's willing to let him be and hope that in a more structured environment like school, he'll throw less tantrums. Helen Kuenstler, Mother: "I'm not really as concerned because he's a good kid so I know it's a phase. Hopefully he'll grow out of it."

-NewsAnchorMom Jen

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