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If it  was going to be easy to raise kids, it never would have started with something called "labour".

Being a parent of a teenager can cure a person of narcissism.

Early intervention is always better than crisis management - but it is never too late to do the right thing.

You cannot reason with someone who is being unreasonable.

Some hope their children will be like sponges soaking up the truth and wisdom imparted by their parents. However appealing this philosophy might be, it seldom seems to catch on with their children.

Relationships matter:  change comes through forming trusting relationships. People, not programs change people.

A tantruming toddler is a little ball of writhing muscle and incredible strength. It's like trying to carry a greased pig past a slop bucket.

If you are headed in the wrong direction as a parent - you are allowed to make a U-turn.

Removing a child from a traumatic environment does not remove the trauma from the child's memory.

We should not medicate the boys so they fit the school; we should change the school to fit the boy. (Leonard Sax, M.D. Ph.D)

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Tactics for Tantrums (part 1)

My next several posts will offer ideas about handling toddler’s tantrums. They are based on the premise that some tantrum throwing will and should occur and that our job as parents is to make it as painless as possible for all participants.

1. The Ignore Tactic

To use the ignore tactic the parent totally ignores the child’s dramatic performance. Look busy. Bustle around the house, sweeping, dusting or stacking magazines. Do not, however, try to read a book. It’s best to remain a moving target. For the child, getting up and following the parent around takes a lot of steam out of the tantrum itself. The method is listed first because it is usually  the least effective although from a theoretical perspective, it is the best. Its success depends on the parent’s ability to outlast the child, and we all learn at some time or another who averages the most staying power.

2. The “I Feel” Technique

Try to describe the child’s feelings for him. “Wow! You’re really angry, aren’t you? I can tell you’re angry by the way you’re acting (understatement). But I understand how you feel. Maybe you can tell me how you feel so angry.” Avoid asking “why”, because this is either unanswerable or opens a whole new can of worms; at any rate, it usually causes additional frustration for the child. This technique can help encourage the child to express feelings and will hopefully begin to foster his ability to use verbal expression in place of violent emotion. It also lets him know you understand and care. (Beware; this method requires calmness on the part of the parent. If you’re not feeling patient enough to handle this, do not use it. Otherwise, you might end up like the mother who stood over her child screaming, “I understand how you feel! I understand! You’re angry! Now shut up!”)

(next post – more tactics)

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Parents' Comments

“Implementing Rick’s techniques and adhering to them is exhausting, but it is a healthy exhaustion rather than the detrimental exhaustion I used to experience.”

(B.F. – Woodstock)