Specific Steps for Responding to Troublesome Tantrums
February 26, 2022

Specific Steps for Responding to Troublesome Tantrums

In the middle of the grocery store, at the park, leaving a friend's, or within your home; tantrums can arrive in any location, and at the most inconvenient times. 

How do you currently respond to your child's tantrums? 

You may feel at a loss for what to do. All you know in the moment, is that you want it to stop. The following steps will specifically guide you in responding to tantrums appropriately.  

The first step is educating yourself about how to appropriately respond to tantrums or unpleasant behavior. 

Taking time to educate yourself and committing to the following steps can directly impact your behavior. Your consistency can positively impact the child’s behavior immediately and over time. Tantrums can be shortened, simply by how you choose to intentionally respond.

  • Commit to Be Calm
  • Stay Confident
  • Use Simple Statements
  • Refrain from Teaching or Lecturing
  • Recognize the Pattern
  • Teach When the Child is Teachable 
  • Repeat the Process 

Commit to Be Calm During Tantrums

Calmly responding to tantrums.

In theory it sounds great, but in practice the outcomes are even greater.

Remaining calm during a tantrum models that calm behavior for them. When you commit to be calm, you show up to any type of situation with a calm demeanor, despite whatever behavior the child is exhibiting. 

Do you ever fall in the trap of showing up to your child’s behavior and emotions with your own big emotions? If you have, you’re normal. Many parents react instead of intentionally using positive parenting techniques. 

If you’d like to increase the peace within your home, this online positive parenting course will teach you the specific techniques to implement. It is never too early or too late to improve interactions and strengthen relationships. It is worth your effort to take time and strengthen your family relationships. 

As an adult, the frontal lobe of your brain is more fully developed than your child’s. You can reason better and understand the importance of staying calm even when your child is not. 

However you show up is what you are modeling for them. If you show up overreacting with big emotions, you teach them how to overreact. If you show up calmly, you teach them how to be calm. 

Let them see with your calm demeanor that their behavior does not bother you. Even if you’re feeling very frustrated on the inside, keep your reactions in check by modeling calm behavior. 

This also shows the child that you can not be manipulated by their negative behavior. 

Stay Confident While Child is Throwing a Tantrum

You are the adult, and you can be confident in your abilities. You do not to belittle, ask them why they're having certain behavior, or overreact. Instead, you can commit to be calm and confident.

Recognize that their behavior is a moment in time, it is not the child. Your child is amazing and capable of wonderful things. Make sure to notice those things, not just give attention to them when things are going wrong. 

Understand that the moment will pass. How you engage with your child during the times they’re exhibiting negative behaviors or tantrums, can hinder or strengthen your relationship with them. It is a choice and a skill to confidently stay calm and let them throw their tantrum. 

As you stay calm and confident, they will eventually recognize that you do not respond to their behavior. You do not add fuel to the fire. Over time the fire diminishes. The behavior isn’t rewarded, and it too can diminish. 

Use Simple Statements  

You’ve already committed to be calm and confident, now use simple statements to their angry questions, sass, or yelling. 

Keep it simple. 

“I understand.”
“I’ll always love you.”
“Try again.”
“Asked and answered.”

If a child didn’t get what they wanted and started to throw a tantrum, you can simply explain the expectation or limit ONE TIME, then use a simple statement. 

Setting the expectation or limit once and not repeating yourself is very important. When you resort to repeating, you typically start out calm, then end up raising your voice as you repeat. Throughout the process of repeating, you can end up bringing your own behavior to the child's behavior, adding fuel to the fire. 

Additional positive parenting techniques in the following links. 

Positive Parenting Techniques to Implement Immediately with Online Course

A Positive Reward System for Children

Refrain from Teaching or Lecturing During Tantrums

When your child's behavior is undesirable, you typically want to quickly fix the problem. Unfortunately, parents often resort to teaching expectations or lecturing right in the middle of the tantrum.

This is the exact wrong time.

The child is not emotionally functioning well, and they are not listening to all the great advice you'd love to give. 

Of course you have great information to give. Your reasoning makes complete sense to you. You can cognitively understand why they shouldn't be behaving the way they are. You want to explain these realities to them. Before you do, remember that they aren't in a mental state to consider all the wonderful advice you'd love to give them. 

News Alert: They don’t care. 

In that moment, they don’t care about why they should or shouldn’t be doing something. Their behavior is in the Red Zone, and they can’t calmly reason about their own behavior. 

As the adult, you recognize that when your child is in the Red Zone they are not teachable. 

This does not mean that you ignore their behavior. You respond by being calm, confident, and using simple statements. 

Recognize the Tantrum Patterns

You are the expert of your child. You know what makes them tick and what ticks them off. 

Look for patterns in your child’s behavior. Does it consistently happen whenever they don’t get their way? During a certain time of day? When they are hungry or tired? 

When you can identify the patterns and why it is happening, you know exactly what you need to teach. 

Teach When the Child is Teachable

You now understand that teaching when the child is in the Red Zone is ineffective. Teaching when the child is teachable will always be the most effective time. 

Wait for them to calm down and come out of the Red Zone. When they are having tantrums and are in the Red Zone, you do not need to be near them. You can walk away from their behavior. 

Again, you show them that you are in control of your own behavior and you do not overreact. 

When the child is teachable, take time to calmly teach. 

Let them know the expectations, options they can do if they don’t get their way, and show them appropriate ways to respond rather than throwing a tantrum. 

You can give them the exact language to use.

When your child doesn't get their way teach them to say, “Ok, maybe next time.”

When it is time for a turn to be finished on an electronic device say, “Ok,” then you can get another turn tomorrow or next time. 

Role playing the expectations with your child is also very helpful. Rather than the child just hearing expectations, they can actually see them modeled through role playing. By using more senses to learn, they have a greater learning potential. 

Parents can role play, or you can role play with toys, stuffed animals, or figurines. 

Repeat the Process

Children need repetition. Do not have unrealistic expectations of your child. Even when you go through this process, there may still be times when they exhibit negative behaviors or throw tantrums. 

You now know what to do. Just repeat the process. 

  • Commit to Be Calm
  • Stay Confident
  • Use Simple Statements
  • Refrain from Teaching or Lecturing
  • Recognize the Pattern
  • Teach When the Child is Teachable 
  • Repeat the Process 

In the moment, you may forget the steps. All is not lost. The most important principle you can implement is to remain calm, even when your child is not. 

You’ve got this! 

Learning positive parenting techniques empowers you to make better parenting decisions. Your efforts of remaining calm and confident, using positive language with simple statements, and teaching when the child is teachable can help strengthen your relationship with your child, even during the challenging times. In theory it’s great, but in life it’s even greater when we make the effort to use positive parenting techniques.