NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — All parents face a dilemma when it comes to a child’s temper tantrum.
How do you handle it? Do you jump into action or ignore it? CBS2’s Vanessa Murdock got some expert advice.
“It’s just complete nuclear meltdown,” one mother said. “Oh god, when is it going to end?”
“Screaming at me and telling me that I hate you,” another woman said. “I just feel all the other adults around looking and judging.”
There are endless tales of temper tantrums.
Being famous doesn’t mean your exempt. “Jane the Virgin” actor Justin Baldoni recently posted a photo on Instagram of his daughter hysterically crying on the floor of a Whole Foods. He said the post is about “being comfortable in the uncomfortable,” and making sure his daughter knows it’s OK to feel deeply.
Tessa D’Arcy, 10, admitted to melting down just days ago.
“All of a sudden it just happened and I couldn’t stop it,” she told Murdock.
But her mom gets it.
“It’s just something that kids go through,” she said.
So what’s a parent to do about it? CBS2 asked Dr. Dave Anderson at Child Mind Institute.
“They’re just a normal part of child development,” he said.
Anderson said kids resort to kicking and screaming when they don’t have the words of coping mechanisms to handle a situation. He said it’s best to consider both proactive and reactive approaches.
“Try not to give attention to tantrum behaviors,” he said. “And then, try to help them focus on something else.”
New to nannying, Christian Ines recently witnessed his first meltdown.
“I didn’t even know this could be a thing,” he said. “He’s punching and kicking me, and I don’t know what to do. And so I’m trying to stay positive.”
Then a mother of three offered to help.
“Like a saving grace angel, like light just beaming down,” Ines said. “She misdirects his attention.”
If ignoring or redirecting just doesn’t work, Anderson urged parents to avoid yelling at their child and stressed they should be proactive.
“Pay attention to positive behavior,” he said.
For example, if your child gets told “no,” and responds calmly, offer a reward. It may keep tempers from reaching the boiling point.
Anderson added that parent should pay attention to the frequency, intensity and duration of the tantrums. If they are happening multiple times a day, last more than a half hour or your child is breaking things, seek professional help.