Tempering Tantrums

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-Hi everyone, I'm Anne Ebeling, you're watching Parents TV. Now, we've all seen it and maybe even lived it a child throwing a temper tantrum in a store, a restaurant or crowded place. But there is a way to keep your children under control and joining us today is Parents coach, Timothy Smith, thanks for being here Tim. -Good to be with you. -Now first of all, you say one of the worst things, I mean, it's one of the worst things a parent can counter, right? -Right. -How do you have weighed this situation? -Oh, it's not a nightmare for your mom or dad, you know. Your kids start to act out. I think one way to avoid that is to have a plan before you get into that situation. I see a lot of parents they're frankly kind of clueless. In a given situation, your kids start to scream in an elevator, scream at a restaurant or throw a fit, you know, at church or synagogue or some place where supposed to be quiet and the parents are, "God, I don't what to do." So, we need to help parents to be better prepared for that kind of settings. -And how can parents be better prepared? -Well, I think you need to have just the ABCs in their head, A, B, and C. I'd like to share with them about this strategic discipline that you can for instance. Just think of A, think of an attribute that you wanna develop in the life of your child. Let's say, it's self-control. Let's say, it's compassion. Any kind of attribute that you think is important. You can sit out with your child even to a 3 or 4 years old and say, "Hey, you know what? We want you to be a kinder kid. We want you to be more responsible. We want you to be more compassion." You might have to define that attribute. But a lot of times, kids don't like to listen to our discipline because they think it's mom or dad's damn rules. But when you start with them and this is a quality that's all about you being this kind of person, they kind of lean forward and go. It's about me? That's the first one, A. And then the second thing that corresponds with it, the B, is the behavior. What is the behavior do you want to go with the attribute. A is the attribute, B is-- What is that attribute look like in the life of your child? -Right. -For instance if it's compassion, may be the behavior would be stop hitting your little sister with your toys, you know. That's not a very- -That's a good start. -Yeah. And so may be you could have possibly use your toys to play with, but not to hurt somebody. So, you put it in a positive term and sometimes to get there you have to start the negative. So you start with the attribute, so that's the attribute, that's the quality. This is the behavior. This is what it looks like in the life of your child so it could be from 2 to 4 to 6. You just adapt it to what your kid can understand. And then the third one is C. A, B, C, the C is a consequence, positive and negative, that relates to the A, attribute and the B, behavior. Now, a lot of times you have older kids, 9, 10 or up, and you're stuck as a parent [unk] with the consequence. The beauty of working with an older kid just like 4th grade, 5th grade, all the way through high school that you can say, "You know, as a parent, this is the attribute we wanna have in you and then the behavior that we have expected. But we're kind of stuck on a consequence. We can't think it up. So, we want you to a little time in your room until you can think of the consequence. I had a mom come in to my office my family coaching up. She said, "You know, I have my 12-year-old son, Trevor. And we're working with him on the A and B and I just can't think of the C so we'll have him think of it." So, she had to take a little time out. And he came up with the C that neither of us would have come up with. -Wow. -We're thinking banging our head what would-- He says, "You know, I really hate to do this, but if I could go out and rake up all the needles that are in the backyard and put them in a plastic bag, I guess that would be a pretty good C 'cause I think that really sucks. I hate to do that. But it works 'cause now we have 10 bags of leaves and -Usable too. -needles raked up." -No. And so he liked it because she was grounding him, making him stay home for the weekend and it didn't even correspond to the behavior that she wanted. So, they got what you attribute is, the quality you wanna see in the life of your kid. I'm up with the behavior that fits that so that he can understand that or she can understand that and then have them or you come up with a positive and a negative consequence. And if you can do this, you're not overreacting as a parent or you're not like a lot of people in public places. You tend to be underreacting -Right. -and you're just kind of pretending that's not my kid. -Does this apply to all kinds of age groups and kids? I mean, are there certain ages works better than others? -Yes, we started this when our kids were little 'cause we said one of the attributes that we want to have for you is to be honest. You know, I don't think that ever left our top emphasis. We always wanted to be telling the truth. We just have to adapt it when they're doing it. They used to tell a lie about things like stealing a cookie-- -Yes. -and then when they got to be teenagers they used to lie about what time they came home, but it's still wasn't an emphasis that we're trying to work throughout the year. We always want you to be telling the truth. -Isn't never too late, I mean, does it get to a point where he is you know, 10 years old? -No, I think that's a good time to start. I think you can actually take a look at your child and you can say, "You know what? If you're 10 years old, we're gonna have the ability to shape you and mentor you and work with this the next 8 years and so this is gonna be important. You know what? We're not gonna be nagging you about 30 things. We're gonna be working with you on just 3 things." So, I like to encourage the parents just take 3 emphases, 3 top attributes that you're trying to work with. It's so frustrating for a kid if the parents are trying to work with them on 10 different things. We don't do that in adult world. You know, when we get annual reviews, we used to say, "We're working to improve your performance here at the company in these 3 areas." Why do we look at kids and say, "You need to work on 9 or 10." Just start the top 3 attributes you'd like to see in the life of your kids and work on that. -How long does the process take? Parents would say I can do this to prevent these tantrums, but -Yes. -what about when they're happening now and what do you do? -Exactly. Great question. What you do is you write these things down. If kids can't write, you can tell straight with the positive and negative consequence, the A, the B, the C. You can actually make them all on a jar, even put on the refrigerator. But you tell your child in advance. This is what's gonna happen and I really want you to be cooperative, so therefore that's the A so when we're going to the store it's cooperative. If you're going to help mommy, do not make a scene. And if you do that, then you're gonna get this reward at the end and so you can tell them in advance. [unk] cooperative and they can check themselves and I want the positive consequence. -Yeah. -You know, you may be get to watch your favorite in the car in the way home or maybe you get to purchase something for them and that's it. -Well, perfect. Thank you so much for that really useful information. I'm sure you help all the parents out there Tim. Thank you for being with us. And for more information about this advice, you can go to Thanks for watching Parents TV, your source for the best information for your growing family. -Thank you for watching Parents TV, our families, our lives.