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Children today are under enormous pressures rarely experienced by their parents or grandparents. Many of today's children are being enticed to grow up too quickly and are encountering challenges for which they are totally unprepared.

The quickest way to change your child’s behaviour is to first change your own.

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.

The challenge of adolescence is to balance the right of the parents to feel they are in charge with the need of the adolescent to gain independence.

"Unexpressed feeling never die. They are buried alive and come back later in ugly ways." (Stephen Covey)

Adolescence can be the cruelest place on earth. It can really be heartless.  ( Tori Amos)

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

Whining and crying are employed by kids for the purpose of getting something. If it works, then it was worth the effort and will be repeated.

The teenage years require a delicate balance between the young person's need to gain independence, and the parent's need to retain authority.

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

Learn more.

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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Many parents wonder what hit them when their sweet little baby turns into an unreasonable toddler – ideas for dealing with mealtime, bedtime, temper tanturms, toilet training, noncompliance, etc.

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