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Friday, August 31, 2012

The Epic Tantrum

It was a normal afternoon yesterday...four year old Chuck (his name has been changed in case someday he wants to run for President  :) )  and his little sister had been playing nicely for quite some time.  Then the play started getting a little wild, then wilder then Chuck started hitting and pushing Sister down and laughing.  Hmmmm...time for an intervention.  Let the tantrum begin...

Me (softly), "You're out of control.  You can't hit Sister.  You need some time-out time."
Chuck, "NO!  (laughing, hitting Sister, and running away from me)
Chuck refuses to go to time-out.
Me, "Ok, we can do time-out here on the couch." as I gently but firmly pick him up and carry him to the couch.
Chuck, "NO! (kicking and thrashing and yelling)
Me (talking softly), " I'm not going to let you go until you are ready to calm down and not be mean."
Chuck (kicking, thrashing, yelling and scratching), "NO!"  I quietly tell him that he's hurting me and he stops the scratching.
This goes on for about ten minutes.  All the time I'm just holding him firmly so he can't escape (he tries his best to get away), and talking softly to him about how I'll let him down when he's ready to calm down.
Then I notice his stuffed puppy across the room.
Me, "Would it help to have your puppy?"
Chuck (quietly), "yes."
I get up and give the puppy to Chuck.  He clutches it, calms down and sighs.
Me, "Would you like to sit next to me now?"
Chuck, " Yes."
He sits next to me for a few minutes, leaning against my shoulder then gets up and starts playing with his toys.
After about five minutes, I go to him, give him and hug and tell him that I love him and I'm glad he's feeling better.  He tells me that he loves me too.
 The End.

It's been a long time since I've had to deal with a tantrum of that magnitude but the technique still works.  You can't yell at your kid to stop yelling and expect him to understand.  You can't hurt your child so he'll stop hurting others.  It doesn't make sense.  Be calm, be quiet, be firm and be loving.  Your child needs you to be in control so you can help HIM get in control. 


  1. The best stories are real. Thank you for sharing it.

    1. I wish I could remember more from when my kids were little...

  2. Replies
    1. I think it's because I've been doing it for a while :)