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Strategies for tackling parental temper tantrums, anyone...?

(16 Posts)
Mayamama Thu 08-Nov-12 14:33:11

Would love to hear how you guys cope with your own moods and loss of level-headedness during your daily dealings with mini people. I have to say my capacities fluctuate considerably and some days, my tantrums would certainly put many 2-year-olds to shame. I knwo many walk off a heated situation, I simply do not seem to be able to. So, face-to-face with the source of your irritation, what do you do to cool off? Throw some cold water over your head? Drop on the floor?

MadameCastafiore Thu 08-Nov-12 14:37:19

Remember that they are children and you are the adult and they will learn their behaviour from you and so you will only get a child who thinks that sort of behaviour is acceptable.

Put your Mary Poppins face on and distract whilst fuming quietly inside or have an Ally McBeal moment in your head.

I remember smiling at DS when he wouldn't eat as a small child trying to coax him to eat lasagne whilst picturing myself stuffing it up his nose in my head - not very caring but 4 years of only eating sausages and clementines did get a bit wearing.

ThatBintAgain Thu 08-Nov-12 14:37:41

Meditation! smile

And lots of deep breathing...

Turniphead1 Thu 08-Nov-12 14:42:18

I sometimes try speaking very very quietly when I am most wound up. It helps me calm down a bit (although I do sound a bit like a serial killer when I do it...). Also the kids do tend to listen a bit more. They just completely blank me out when I am shouting/ranting/swearing blush.

I try (not always successfully of course) and avoid the trigger times that are the result of my own (a) lack of organisation (b) tardiness (c) hangover. PMT is a tricky one - I am afraid they get a tough time then, despite my best efforts.

Getting as much sleep as I can helps.

EyeoftheStorm Thu 08-Nov-12 14:45:32

I imagine someone is watching me.

elfycat Thu 08-Nov-12 14:49:40

I've qualified as a Bach Flower Practitioner, there's a remedy for every mood I've ever needed support with. Rescue Remedy is all fine and well (and has cheery plum for rage/loss of control) but sometimes I want Pine (guilt) or Mustard (those depressed moments).

It might be placebo (I don;t think so of course) but it's been worth every penny.

And I can always make this my career when the kids go to school smile

elfycat Thu 08-Nov-12 14:50:11

*cherry plum, but a good mis-spell

Turniphead1 Thu 08-Nov-12 14:51:04

Eyeofthestorm - good one. God forbid someone was watching me on the really bad days. (hasten to add no child abuse, but I don't exactly feel great about myself....)

Do you manage to stick to that ALL the time. That's my problem. About 60% of the time I'd happily have my house transmitted to the world. 30% - I would be a bit mortified about the snappy lack of patience. The remaining 10% pretty horrid.

I am hoping that evens out ok for my poor children....

steppemum Thu 08-Nov-12 14:52:20


seriously, sometimes you have to remember that you are the adult and however much you want to scream you can't. If I am genuinely upset, I send them off to do something, stick the telly on, go to the loo or something. But if I can't do that then I act. I go into an impersonation of a lovely mummy mode (very similar to Mary Poppins above) My older ones know that it is an act and find it funny (which difuses tension, nothing like a good audience who appreciate the effort) the younger ones think you are being nice, and you know that you are putting on a face and the niceness is fake, but it gets you through the moment.

If there is a genuine incident that has set it off, then you can deal with it later (even if only 10 minutes later) once you are less angry.

I have found having children can press my buttons like nothing else. I am not ever really an angry person away from kids, but they can just sometimes push my buttons, and it does take self control to behave the right way.

and my ds has anger issues and I HAVE to model to him how to behave. If I don't how will he learn?

EyeoftheStorm Thu 08-Nov-12 16:08:24

I know I'm a better parent outside the house - not that I'm horrible inside - but in the supermarket or at the school gate I can summon up that extra deep breath or bite back the cross words much more easily.

My flash point is getting 3 DCs out of the door in the morning and so I imagine the post man is about to put letters through the door. I don't want to be shouty mummy and I try hard not to be.

Mayamama Thu 08-Nov-12 22:31:32

Excellent, ladies! Brilliant strategies, thanks! Will put some to immediate practice and the cheery plum remedy sounds promising, too :P !

EugenesAxe Thu 08-Nov-12 22:38:27

Mantra when I want to smack or in other way hurt my child.... anything I do will be done by them to a greater extent to siblings/other children.

Starflower oil has helped as most of my real 'red mist' rages are homonal, I've discovered. The rest of the month I don't seem to rise. Also step away from the thing that's bugging you...distract distract distract. Sometimes it seems like I don't step in because in some sadistic way I want my child to take me to breaking point... a very bad idea.

lolalotta Fri 09-Nov-12 07:14:02

Lol Turnip for serial killer comment! grin

vix206 Fri 09-Nov-12 07:24:27

Great thread, my problem is when I'm sleep deprived, or woken in the middle of the night and perceive it to be for no good reason (ie DS not poorly/not had a nightmare etc.)

I just have no patience and feel pure rage sad I've never lost it with DS but have said some toxic things to DH on occasion and its like I turn into someone else. To the point where I honestly don't know if we can have any more children because I didn't cope well at all when DS was small and waking every 2 hours in the night.

So anyone have any advice for nocturnal parental tantrums? blush

Mayamama Fri 09-Nov-12 12:20:39

EugenesAxe, glad to read I am not alone in having such sadistic tendencies....! Well, spotted, I had not thought about it in those terms, but I think I do the same... I guess hormonal is my main thing too, although I wish I would sometimes know ahead a bit better when it -- whichever hormone is the culprit -- will hit me...
And vix, I can so relate. I think perhaps you have offered one possible solution yourself -- that when you understand there might be a reason, you can contain your temper? I remember walking in the middle of the night holding DS1, then 2years or so, singing to myself "big boys colick, big boys colick". Use whatever else would in your eyes make this loss of sleep somewhat understandable in rational terms,maybe it will help? I also found it immensely helpful when I read about the physiological need for children to cry, even at night. Our brain is a strange thing, and for those totally irrational moments, perhaps try those aromatherapy or homeopathy remedies suggested...

SeeingDouble Tue 13-Nov-12 16:29:34

Just logged into Mumsnet to seek advice on this subject as have had a terrible afternoon. Good to read everyone's experiences & advice.
DS1 (4yo) had a screaming tantrum on the street because I wanted him to cross the road at a safe place. Dealt with that calmly, but an hour later he headbutted his twin brother whilst walking home. I told him very crossly that I was sick of his behaviour (this is not the first time) and he could tell his Dad what he had done. This precipitated another screaming tantrum on the street, but I had had enough and just started to walk home with him screaming behind me.
I knew that he wanted a cuddle and it could be resolved fairly easily, but I was so angry I let it go on until we got back home. BAD MOTHER!
So, being outside didn't work for me ...
We are fine now but I wish I could be calm when faced with fighting siblings and not react myself.

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