When I fight authority (a tool for handling temper tantrums : )

For whatever reason I’ve had this song by Jon Mellencamp playing in my head for the last few weeks… And it’s got me thinking on authority, and fighting it.

Today I share a tool with you that I hope you find useful in dealing with temper tantrums and other ways that your child “fights authority.”

If you’ve got young children,
you probably remember all too vividly those newborn days, where your new baby was the Authority.
When that baby said “jump!” you said “how high?”
And then the baby grew, and you were able to call some of the shots again…

But early childhood keeps the “authority” issue in the forefront.
Because toddlers and preschoolers want to BE the authority, but they are not quite sure HOW to do that.

That’s when the temper tantrums start.
To give you an extra tool in dealing with them, I want to share a method that came up recently in the private coaching community that I run, where a mom asked:
“At home during a temper tantrum at least I can get [my three-year-old] to his room, and put him down. But out in the world – what should I do? If I continue to hold his hand he yanks and bucks and throws himself on the ground. If I try to hold him on my lap he kicks and head-butts.”

Sound familiar? If you ever deal with that or similar, try the following:
1) Remember that tantrums are part of life. They are part of the game, in fact they are developmentally necessary… And when a child has a tantrum he is fully experiencing that. So kicking and headbutting may be a part of that “full experience.”

2) As parents, our goal is always going to be to help our child express emotion verbally, as opposed to physically. Can you cut short the tantrum by asking a question? Sometimes, yes, and more often as they grow.

3) Before the next time you are at the playground for someplace public that you’re concerned there might be a tantrum, have some version of the following short-and-sweet conversation:

  • You: “What happens if you… [Hit/kick/scream/whatever]”
  • Your child: “We have to leave [or some appropriate consequence]”
  • You: “That is no fun, is it.”
  • Your child: “No, it’s not.”
  • You: “How can you [be safe/play safely/stay for the longest possible time…]?”
  • Your child: “I can [verbalizes something about keeping hands to sell/staying in bounds/appropriate behavior]”
  • You: “Yay! Let’s go have fun!”

What we’re doing here is teaching kids that they can wield some authority.
That they can make choices, and that those choices will lead to them either staying at the park – or forcing them to leave the park before they want to.

I hope this tool helps you and your young child navigate the authority issue!

As always, please holler with questions, or comments!

Keep reading below for What’s up on the podcast/on YouTube/in the Facebook group… And for the picture of the week!

Wishing you a wonderful parenting week!
Karen of https://weturnedoutokay.com

What’s up on the podcast this week:
I’m talking to summer camp director and author Audrey Monke about her new book, Happy Campers, which I think contains the antidote to everything that’s wrong in our world today (and I’m not even kidding : )
Click weturnedoutokay.com/273 to listen. You will be glad you did!

What’s up on my YouTube channel this week:
Extending on this theme, the live YouTube (I do one every Thursday) is called
“Helping kids make friends” and it is available at the link just above! Or,
Check out my YouTube channel by clicking here.

What’s up in the We Turned Out Okay Facebook group this week:
Each Monday at 10:30 a.m. EST, I do a superquick Facebook live that I call “Magic Words for Parents”… and this week I share a game you can play to help your child get better at making friends.

Picture of the week:

In this segment of our weekly parenting email, I share something that is feeding my soul:

In the Rocky Mountains – or, in any mountains, I guess – you get this incredible sunset phenomenon called “alpenglow.” It is truly breathtaking, how the sun is out of sight but silhouetting the mountains at the same time! This fascinated us each (non-snowy) that we were out visiting my parents, and while this picture does not do it justice at all, I hope it gives you a sense.

PS – If you’re enjoying this Weekly Parenting Newsletter, sign up to receive it in your inbox, or forward it to a friend who needs a parenting boost today.