Author: Karla Mata
I will explain a little about how being a parent educator helped me to teach my child to control her temper tantrums. I have 3 children. All of them are different, like night and day and…a potato? You know what I mean. My son, the oldest, the king of the house the pride and joy of his father, my middle girl, quiet, but capable of hiding a storm in the quiet, and the baby, you know spoiled rotten, daddy’s little girl. All three were raised differently as we grew as parents. My son went through our first not-so-great phases of uninformed parenting. He was spanked for about the first 5 years of his life, my middle child got a spank now and then when her behavior, in my opinion then, was bad enough and the youngest never knew what a spank was or even a slap on the hand. Besides that, she also had another unique behavior my other two did not display, temper tantrums!
I became a parent educator in 2016. My daughter was five by then and we had been struggling with her tantrums for over 2 years. My children went through terrible 3’s more than terrible 2’s. The worst tantrum I can recall was when she was about 3 and a half. I went into a store with the exact money I was going to use but my daughter decided she wanted a toy I had no money for. I walked away from her and towards the cashier after making it clear I was not going to buy the toy, she did not follow me, she stayed in the toy aisle, so I went back for her and picked her up. Baby girl unleashed the beast within her. I may have been well-rested and in a good mood because I calmly held a screaming, thrashing baby and calmly paid the cashier without flinching. My son, who was with us, and the people around just stared in horror at the screaming child. When we got to the car she thrashed even harder and would not allow me to buckle her in her seat. I told my son to record her with my phone so her dad could see how she was acting, something I thought would stop her, but didn’t. I kept calm on the ride home and allowed her to scream all she wanted. At some point, I started considering spanking her when she had really bad tantrums, but my husband never allowed that to happen, bless his calm head with her.
Later as a parent educator, I learned my daughter had trouble with self-regulation and was unable to self-soothe. She needed tons of support from those around her and most of the time we were fed up or tired of her behavior. As a parent educator, I learned what worked and what didn’t. I learned techniques that would only aggravate her and make her behavior worse and techniques that were better suited for her. I learned discipline techniques are not one size fits all and most are not used correctly! I also learned that children behave the way they do because they don’t know any better and we need to teach them self-awareness, not just colors, numbers and letters. In the end, my daughter learned that it was ok to feel upset all she wanted but also the way we expected her to behave. She learned breathing techniques, to walk away and only come back when she could talk in a way that we could understand, and that throwing herself on a dirty floor was never okay. Being an educator provided real expectations of what I should expect from my daughter and much improved my patience when she was not able to control herself and had to cry, thrash and scream for fifteen minutes or more. Issues with emotional self-regulation will probably be with her forever but she is now able to understand it’s something she needs to keep working on to not alienate herself and those around her if she ever has a tantrum.