Do you have a peaceful family home? How many tantrums occur in a day? Is there power struggles going on? Are you about to pull out your hair because you do not know what to do? What would it look like if you did not have to yell anymore?
Great News, I’ve been where you have been. I have a solution. You are not the only person who has experienced this. Not only am I a parent of 6 kids, I am also a behavior professional. For the last 20 years I have worked with children and families. I have worked with kids that have special needs such as ADHD, ODD, Down’s Syndrome and Autism. I have studied behaviors and learned why they occur. Why do behaviors continue when you think that you have done everything to stop it? They continue because they are actually being reinforced.
Look at behaviors as communication. When your 4 year old is having a meltdown, ask yourself why? Children tantrum for 2 main reasons, 1 they want control or 2 they want attention.
So what does this all mean? Look at the picture above. What do you see? A child surrounded by toys, actually in his hands and he is still crying. Some might think his structure was knocked down and some might perceive he isn’t getting his way. You are right on both ends. This happens to be my 4 year old. His twin sister knocked over what he was building and he wanted a 2nd snack.
I handled this by 1st assessing what the tantrum was about. I encouraged his sister to apologize and find another area to play in. About the snack I told him he already had one and he needed to wait for dinner. His cries got so loud. So loud his twin sister was covering her ears. Before I would of yelled, at him, because I was frustrated that he was crying when I felt he didn’t need to be. Now I realize he is crying for a reason. He is crying because he is NOT IN CONTROL. This is an age for control exploration. So yes this is normal.
Understanding the REASON for the tantrum, I then approached him and said he had 2 choices. By giving choices, it’s giving them control over the situation. I said you can play here with no crying or you can go to your room and continue to cry as long as you want. When he wasn’t listening, I helped him get up and go to his room. I helped him make that decision, because that is what his behavior was telling me. He was not even in his room a minute when he told me he was done crying and wanted to go back and play with his toys. This all took about less than 2 minutes.
This could have been what some describe as a meltdown where the crying continues and the parents loose all patience. It did not. It was a tantrum that my son used to express he was not in control. Once you understand what the tantrum is about, then you are able to address it in a calmer, peaceful way.