A Parent’s War On Tantrums

5 min read
A Parent’s War On Tantrums

I hate it when I hear a child whining to their mum, “But I want it!”. I shudder when I see them stamp their feet, hands balled up into little fists at their side, their face turned a shade of blue and red, with eyes blazing the unspoken warning of, “Give it to me, Mum or I’ll scream this supermarket down!!!”


giphy (4)

I have seen it before, many times actually, even from my own family members. The very thought makes me cringe and I say a silent prayer that my own child won’t turn out like that.

The whole scenario had me thinking, is this child just acting out because he is a spoilt brat? Or is he simply just smart, and knows this little tantrum will lead to getting what he wants?

I read a fantastic article recently that explained what it means to spoil a child, and how to avoid it. The writer made a brilliant distinction:

The Myth “” Spoiling is the result of giving children whatever they need.

The Reality “” Spoiling is the result of inadvertently rewarding misbehavior.

It’s that decision where the mother (or father) is trapped between the choice of, 1) letting their child scream, the parents feeling humiliated with the aghast onlookers witnessing the chaos, or 2) to give the child what they want, shut them up and get on with the task at hand.

You would have to be kidding yourself if you went with option 1), right?

But then option 2), only solves one issue and perhaps creates a bigger one “” that being a spoilt child.

There is a real danger to giving your child what he wants. It means he has learned that limits set by you (the parent) change in response to inappropriate behaviours like temper tantrums, whining, sulking, non-cooperation, and disrespect. He will spend hours trying to reverse your decision, because experience has shown that often the battle can be won, if the child is willing to go to extremes. He is smart, children are smart.

On the other end of the spectrum, we all want our children to love us, we want them to be happy and secure, and to enjoy their childhood. We want to let them play on that helicopter outside the supermarket for five minutes, because it’s better than hearing them cry and we know that saying ‘No’ will only make him cry. No one wants to hear that, especially fellow shoppers.

We don’t want to deny our child the joy of standing up in the shopping cart to dance, to climb to the top of the jungle gym, and cover himself in mud. We don’t want to be the bad guys in our child’s eyes. We want to be the cool, fun, hip parent.

How can you say no to that face? How can you swallow the thought of other people staring at you as you allow your child to scream? Are they thinking, what a brat? Or, that woman should give her poor, miserable child the toy.

It’s a real conundrum, is it not?

Taming Toddler Tantrums | Stay at Home

Parenting spokesperson Kelly Nualt has given three ways to avoid spoiling your child:

Encourage Independence.

One of the best things you can do for your child is to have them help out with family chores. Most parents don’t realise that by not encouraging their young children to help out with simple chores now, they are unknowingly teaching their children to not want to do chores later on.As soon as they show interest in helping out, start teaching them!

After seeing how interested her three-year-old was in Saturday morning laundry, one mum in my parenting class gave her child the task of taking the wet laundry and moving it to the dryer every week. This simple task would take her no more than 10 seconds, took her son up to 10 minutes! Yet, this mum knew the power of training. To pass the time, she brought along the newspaper to read. Now, four years later, her child is enthusiastically helping with dozens of other chores, including setting and clearing the table.

Refrain from Modeling Temper Tantrums Yourself.

Many parents actually model for their children how to perform temper tantrums by yelling, screaming and even hitting when they get to the end of their rope. Realise that by doing so, you are teaching your kids how to misbehave “” no matter how loudly you tell them how to behave. Actions speak louder than words. Make certain you are walking your talk in this area.

Put Yourself First for the Sake of Your Child.

You’ve probably heard the saying, “When mumma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” Choose to be a happy parent … for the sake of your children. If you are burning the candle at both ends, you are likely headed for burnout. And when “Super Mum” turns into “Super Stressed”, the results can be ugly for the entire family. Choose to do more than just give lip service to selfcare. Self-care needs to be treated as a necessity, rather than as a luxury.

Modeling for your child what a happy, healthy adult looks like is essential. It is also essential for your child to know that you think enough about yourself to put some of your needs first. Even if this means spending a little less time with them, the time you do spend together will be more fulfilling and rewarding for both of you when you are truly happy. Child behavior (2-6 year olds) can be challenging, but very rewarding if you take the time to teach by example, to actively model good self-care, and to give your child satisfying opportunities to contribute.

For me, I’m still undecided. I want to give my son the world, but I don’t think I could handle a  supermarket tantrum”¦ not even once.

Let us know your thoughts”¦.

Can you spoil a child?

Avatar photo
About Author

Kate Davies

Senior Journalist & Features Editor. As the modern-day media hunter-gatherer, Journalist Kate Davies is harnessing 10 years in the media to write...Read More engaging and empowering articles for Stay At Home Mum. Her years of experience working in the media both locally and nationally have given her a unique viewpoint and understanding of this dynamic industry. Hailing from a small town in Tasmania and spending many years travelling the world, Kate now calls the Sunshine Coast home alongside her husband and one-year-old son. Read Less

Ask a Question

Close sidebar