Monday, October 22, 2007

Daddy Magic: Leave the Tantrum

So let's get into some more specifics about the tantrum. We established that discipline is necessary. If you're in the room and you can hear or feel the tantrum, then the tantrum is a success. You have to make it a failure to get it to stop.

For me, a tantrum means, "I want to go to bed." So I usually start there. "You're crying. Are you ready to go to bed?" She says, "No." "Oh, but you're still crying. Let's go to bed. If you stop crying then you won't have to go to bed." If she stops. That's good. If she doesn't, she goes to bed. She always stops. She never has to go to bed. Sure, she had to learn it, but it didn't take long.

There are two times where that won't work. First, it's not going to work if you're driving somewhere. That's why she goes in the car before anything else. I put her in the car, and then she throws a tantrum (she doesn't like to be strapped in). First, I try distractions, by getting her to help me (more on that later). If that doesn't work, that's fine. I leave her in the car to scream while I get the rest of the stuff and keep packing the car. We can't hear her. It's futile, so it usually only lasts a few seconds. Why scream your head off if you have no audience?

How about when you're at the store? Try distractions. If it doesn't work, go for discipline, which, unfortunately, might mean it's time for you to leave the store. However, there are forms of discipline you can use in the store as well. More on that later.

The other time it won't work is if she can climb out of bed, open the door, and walk out of the room. We put discipline on that too, so she doesn't do that. However, if you haven't taught your toddler to stay in the room (and toddler-proofed it) then you're going to need to bite the bullet and put that baby proof door handle on the inside. Lock your kid in. If she can escape, she won't be miserable. She needs to learn that a tantrum will steadily make life miserable for the rest of her life. The sooner she stops, the sooner her misery stops.

Sure, you can still hear the tantrum if you leave him in the room (that way you know if the scream is from pain or something else). But it should be faint so that it doesn't bother you. Too loud? Turn on the radio so it's not loud. Go to another room. Allow yourself to hear it faint enough so that you can monitor it without it bothering you.

You don't care. The tantrum not going to last because you don't care. When the child stops, give it a few minutes and then reward him by letting him out, hugging him, and telling him why he had a time out.

It's said you should always love your child and explain to your child after the discipline is done. That's when they're paying attention.

Leaving a tantrum behind so that it doesn't affect you? Now that's Daddy Magic!


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