Strong families have well-behaved children. Parents owe it to their children to be consistent in their discipline and to confront bad behavior immediately. Children become little tyrants who control the family if they are not carefully taught.
Many people do not like confrontation because it is uncomfortable for everyone involved and observing. No one enjoys confronting another person about his/her bad behavior because it is not pleasant, but some people - including me at times - will go to any length to avoid confrontation. When an eighteen-month-old or a two-year old throws a temper tantrum and throws himself/herself sprawled out on the floor, it is kind of cute. When five-year-old tries the same trick, it is no longer cute but very embarrassing if public. When a teenager or adult throws temper tantrums, it becomes destructive or even dangerous.
Parents must confront their child about bad behavior as soon as the bad behavior starts. When that two-year-old understands that temper tantrums do not get them anywhere, the problem soon stops.
I have a granddaughter who is resisting parental pressure to begun potty trained but wants her diaper to be changed immediately after soiling it. I can tell by her behavior that she knows when she needs to go potty, but she resists. When I recently babysat her, I caught her in the act of straining and asked if she needed to sit on the potty. She answered no, and I explained to her that she would have to wear a soiled diaper for awhile if she made a mess in it. Just a minute or two later, she wanted her diaper changed. I reminded her about what I had said, and she immediately started a tantrum which lasted for 20 minutes. I changed her diaper after she finally calmed down, and I would have changed it sooner without the temper tantrum. I am stubborn enough to stand my ground until the tantrum ends! I told her parents what I had done and suggested that this may be the motivation she needs to get potty trained. I don't know if they will be consistent enough and strong enough to endure until she learns.
I have other grandchildren who have mastered the art of throwing temper tantrums when they don't get their way. It is fairly embarrassing to have a child throw himself on the floor in a public place simply because he didn't get his way. When the habit is well-ingrained, it is very difficult to eradicate.
Parents must be consistent in how they deal with temper tantrums. They and their caregivers must be united in how they deal with the child. One adult, even though consistent, cannot cure the tantrums. Both parents, as well as all grandparents and caregivers, must adopt the philosophy of no temper tantrums and refuse to deal with them. One serious consequence of allowing any child to become a tyrant is that other children see what is happening and follow the same behavior. When children understand that tantrums do not get them anything, they will cease throwing temper tantrums. Even two-year-olds can understand when an adult says, "No temper tantrums."
Children must be carefully and lovingly taught that certain behaviors are not acceptable, and the sooner the teaching begins, the easier the learning will be on the child. Tyrants are difficult to live with, and child tyrants are one of the worst kind! Families are strengthened when all members understand that civilized people use words to discuss problems rather than throw temper tantrums.
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