Even for the most well-behaved children, there can still be times when tantrums come in. It can be at a library, office, shopping center or even at an amusement park, when they’re supposed to be having fun. However, it can really be stressful when they erupt in the most inappropriate places. It may not be the best time to discipline them in public, especially in quiet places. However, there are some steps you can take before you hit the road, to lessen the chances of them happening.
1. Pre-event pep talks. If your kids are old enough to understand, explain to them that you’ll be going somewhere that requires them to behave appropriately. Give them instructions as to what they are going to be doing when they get to the event. Often, parents taunt their children about behaving and harshly criticize their children after they haven’t “behaved” even though they don’t clearly know what the definition of behaving is.
2. Correct behavior consistently. Good behavior doesn’t come from having a fun childhood, a stable home life or even having nice parents. Behavior comes from practice. Good behavior takes a lot of time to learn and that is why even adults don’t have it because it doesn’t come by osmosis. Parents need to consistently instill good behavior into their children for them to grasp it. Parents should not expect good behavior when it’s not consistently enforced, at home.
3. Avoid negative/violent influences. Children are very impressionable and if they see negative or violent behavior, they will copy it. There’s no doubt about it. Often, cable programming and video games feature violent undertones that kids can pick up. Even the subtlest forms can be distracting for kids, such as the audience laughing when a kid throws a tantrum in a store on a comedy show. Another influence can be the behavior kids see from parents and their peers. If they see you or kids their age acting out, they will be prone to do so, as well.
4. Don’t provoke your children. Many parents can take acting out very personally. I’ve known parents to ignore and personally attack their children from a young age, for their tantrums. Parents must take accountability for their child’s behavior and not see it as a personal attack and that their child hates them. This means not using bad behavior to correct bad behavior. Be kind and gentle to your children when correcting their mistakes. Don’t discourage them by sighing or complaining about them to others when they do something wrong. They are not your enemies but they are your responsibility to properly raise and instill good behavior. So, take discipline seriously and don’t treat it as an annoyance but something that you need to constructively implement on your children. Then, they will take it seriously, too.
5. Have fun and be there. To sum it all up, it’s very important for parents to play consistent roles in their children’s lives. Many times kids act out to get attention from their parents. I notice that during family themed events, kids are especially clingy to their parents. Imagine being away from your parents for most of the day, only maybe seeing them briefly before bedtime. They may learn that if they want the attention from their parents, that they naturally desire, they may have to fight for it. This often comes in the form of bad behavior and tantrums. Realize that you may have to make some lifestyle changes, if your child is acting up too frequently or intensely. Also, be sure to fill the need your children have for their primary caregivers and enjoy the time you spend with them. Many parents believe that children need as many distractions as possible to keep them happy. What kids need is frequent undivided attention from their parents.