Dealing With Kids Who Throw Tantrums

Dealing With Kids Tantrums

Jeffrey has lost his mind. The little monster tosses around food during dinner, destroys toys and clothes, beats up his siblings and does not listen to anything his parent’s say. When told to get ready for bedtime, the six year old toddler yells, “No!!!!!!!! You can’t make me!” In all truthfulness, Jeffrey is a very difficult child to handle. In addition, he is obviously not happy. Nobody who throws constant tantrums is inwardly feeling joyous and unperturbed. Something is up!

It seems like a “Jeffrey epidemic” is appearing all over the place. Parents are dragging their kids into the local psychology’s office left and right. Each year, more and more parents are signing up for family therapy. Kids just seem to be getting worse and worse. Not only are they acting badly, they are now becoming violent and outright rude. They are making their parents miserable and they themselves are miserable. Bad behavior at a very early age is an indication that this child may suffer from serious problems in their adolescence. They will be more apt to start drinking, smoke marijuana and become a dropout.

So what is causing our children to lose their heads? Several rationales have been offered. They include, but are not limited too, allergic reactions, psychological disorders, watching television all the time and consuming too much sugar. Keeping this mind, I want to point out that this epidemic is mainly occurring in America. In fact, psychologists have noticed that in Europe, for instance, kids act much more appropriately. While dining at a restaurant, for example, they don’t throw food or argue. They act like little angels. In addition, American kids show more aggression during recess than European kids. Does it seem reasonable to assume that such behavioral differences between two highly technological countries is due to mere television and too much sugar? I believe that the real reason lies in how we raise our children.

Interestingly enough, psychological studies show that disturbing child behavior oftentimes results from kids receiving too much improper attention. Take for instance the case of little Bobby. He was a three year old attending preschool. Everyday, he typically had anywhere from three to eight crying tantrums. Each time he cried, his teacher would quickly run to him to give him support. Psychologists studied the situation and concluded that perhaps the “OVER-SUPPORT” might be leading to all the crying. Therefore, they decided to try a new strategy. Every time Bobby began crying, the teacher would look up and just take a brief glimpse at him to see if he was okay. If he was not injured and he was okay, they would just look down and get back to work. Only when he suffered a legitimate mishap would they intervene. The result was that within a few days, Bobby was crying a whole lot less. To ensure that their hypothesis was correct, they then had the teacher return to giving Bobby lots of attention. Within a matter of days, he was back to his old ways!

Such studies prove that disruptive actions and behavior can sometimes evolve from giving kids too much attention. I am not saying that this strategy will eliminate all the disruptive behavior out there. But, it certainly is a first step.

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