There’s nothing more embarrassing for moms than when their kid puts on the performance of a lifetime in a crowded store, whaling and screaming in octaves that could break glass. Instead of raging back, pleading for them to shut up or acting like it’s some other lady’s kid- there are ways to constructively deal with those less than pleasant displays of anger.
Know that a tantrum is just the pure expression of anger, and that anger is an emotion. An emotion is a pure physical sensation in the body. Look at the word “emotion.” It is “e” (energy) in motion. Move the energy out constructively and the tantrum will quickly pass.
According to Attitude Reconstruction, these five tips will funnel the child’s anger in a physical and constructive way, as well as help parents get control over their own emotional reaction:
- Be a good role model so your child sees that it IS appropriate to get angry but that you express it in a way that does not damage other people or things of value. That means no yelling, swearing, or finger pointing. That is not a constructive or effective way to truly dissolve anger.
- At a neutral time, talk about anger with your child, how the sensation feels in his or her body, and show them how to express it constructively and physically. Together decide on the best way for them to safely express frustration (anger) whether it’s stomping around the room like King Kong, kicking cardboard boxes, or lying on a bed and kicking and flailing. Practice together so they get the idea and get the equipment together.
- Agree on a safe place for them to express their anger. A playroom, bedroom, bathroom, garage, car; any place is good as long as they know that’s where they go to release their emotions safely and freely.
- When tempers or hysterics escalate, lovingly escort them to their chosen location. Don’t make fun of them, tease, name call, or make demeaning comments while they’re releasing their anger (or in general). Doing so will only fuel anger’s fire and create misery for everyone. Be there just to witness and acknowledge they’re just feeling angry, and it’s okay.
- This is not the time to be instructional or educational. No lecturing or trying to teach them a lesson. After they have expressed their emotion, validate how well they did.
After moving the pure physical sensation out of the body and things have returned to a rational state, then it’s time to talk and listen. At this point you both should both be calm enough to look for the learnings. You’ll be amazed at how much more peace, love, and respect it brings into the household (or grocery store).