“A 2-year-old often doesn’t have the cognitive resources and the language to express what he’s feeling,” says Dr. Green. So firing questions at a child when he’s in mid-freak-out (like “Why did you do that to your sister?” or “What do you want?”) may just prolong that rage and overload his system even further. Wait until they calm down, and then ask these questions.
Don’t bother explaining to a hysterically crying kid that she can’t peel the banana because Mommy already peeled it. “In the middle of a tantrum, the child is functioning in the limbic centers of the brain, which are run by emotion,” explains Dr. Gold. “The higher cortical centers that are responsible for reasoning are not working properly, so trying to rationalize with a child while she’s having a tantrum is completely impossible.” You can try saying when youâ€™re ready we (you) canâ€¦.
Toddlers crave a reaction from their parents, even a bad one. Take away the payoff. Silently count to ten, take deep breaths, and remind yourself that you’re the grown-up. Losing your cool can have long-term effects: Researchers at Oregon State University found that parents who anger easily and overreact are more likely to have toddlers who do the same. Try whispering, they have to bring their noise level down to hear you.
If you tell your screeching child that you’re going to turn off the TV, switch it off. If you warn him that he’ll get a time-out the next time he yells at you, follow through — quietly, quickly, and without emotion. Consistency is key: If your kid knows what is coming when he has a fit, he is less likely to do it.
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