Eva Katsarova Magimay
I’ll start with one of my mum’s favourite stories.
I’d have been around 3 and we’d been out shopping. I saw something I wanted and decided that kicking and screaming would be a great way to get it. My mum decided she was having none of that. Reasoning with a 3 year old who’s in the middle of a tantrum is a waste of effort so she just grabbed my arm and dragged me out of the store and home. Once I’d exhausted myself, she told me that this is not how we get things. Then she told me what we were going to do if I hadn’t thrown that tantrum but, see, we hadn’t because she had to take me home. To nobody’s (or everybody’s) surprise, that was the first and last time I threw a tantrum. When I came up with my next strategy of “Mommy, please, can I have this?” my mum decided she liked that one better. Sometimes I got what I wanted. Other times (most, actually), she told me we didn’t have money for it but we can go to the park instead. I even got a free toy mouse because the sales woman was impressed by how well-trained I was (apparently, she’d had it up to *here* with kids kicking and screaming). Mum still has the mouse.
The point? You have to train them if you want them to behave. If your child knows that a tantrum will get him/her the desired outcome, it doesn’t matter what you do after. Kids are not big on the “after” part, it’s mostly about the here and now. If you lose that first battle and cave in because you are embarrassed, they will keep doing it. Because it works. If their new strategy doesn’t work, they’ll try to come up with a different one.
I take exemption to your statement that ‘all’ children throw temper tantrums. I have raised 5 children. One was a pro at temper tantrums. He was, and still is, the most strong willed of my now mostly adult children. I believe a parent needs to start teaching appropriate behavior from very early on. I never raised my hand to any of my children either!! I very rarely had a need to raise my voice. So there are actually children who don’t throw temper tantrums.
That being said, I now have 6 grandchildren. They’re 6 years old to 2 months old. I see the way a lot of children are being raised today as I have my grandchildren with me often. I don’t have any problem taking them shopping, out to eat, doctor’s appointments, etc. The kids all know that when I say something that is what I mean. 2 of the 3 sets of parents are the types that give in immediately and almost seem afraid to say no to their children. They are floored by the difference in the children’s behavior when they’re with my husband and I compared to when they attempt to take their children anywhere. We have had numerous discussions about why things are so different. I have tried over and over again to explain that children need to learn that they can NOT have everything they want and that immediate gratification is not going to help them long term. We all agree that physical punishment is NOT appropriate. But all too often I see their frustration (and many of their friends are in the same boat), that comes out as angry raised voices. That’s followed by an apology to the child for the raised voice and giving in to the child. I’m told that ‘things have changed’ and I’m ‘old fashioned.’ I’m happy to be considered old fashion. Lol BTW, my most stubborn child is now the only one that follows the way I raised my children. That grandchild (5 years old) is the only one that doesn’t throw temper tantrums in public or private. Makes one wonder…..