My son Dylan, age four, has been having temper tantrums since he was about two years old. He lies on the floor and kicks and screams and sometimes bangs his head until he gets his way. This can go on for ten minutes or more. How can I get him to stop doing this? It gets bad enough that I am afraid for his safety. Please help.
Dylan is doing what works for him. He has found out that if he keeps on long enough and makes you scared enough, that you will eventually give in and let him have his way. He is not only getting his way but he is getting your attention as well. Children crave attention even if it is negative attention.
Your plan needs to be to give Dylan attention when he is behaving like you want him to behave and ignore the temper tantrums. He may very well escalate his behavior. Your goal is to remain calm and ignore his tantrum.
This has worked for Dylan in the past so he won’t be quick to give it up.
He may even try this behavior on other people.
When he finally calms down (without being rewarded by attention or getting his way) make sure that he gets attention for his positive behavior. If he gets attention by sitting with you and being read to or helping you make cookies or other things that he finds enjoyable, he will eventually give up his tantrums.
Dylan has gotten his way by having tantrums for two years so it will take a while for him to get the idea that they don’t work anymore. Don’t give up.