Dealing with a Temperamental Child
If your child is temperamental, you have an even more difficult parenting road ahead of you than parents whose children are more stable in terms of mood. This is because you just never know what will happen next. Usually you will know when the child is still an infant if they are going to be temperamental. Just the smallest thing will set off a crying fit several times a day. Thankfully there are some ways you can deal with your temperamental child in a loving way that will also teach them the right way to behave.
As with any child, acknowledgement of what they say and how they feel is important. Children want to know that they are being heard, and this is even more true about temperamental kids. Acknowledging their feelings gives you an opportunity to teach them how to calm down and learn to communicate those feelings in beneficial ways. Remind them that you can’t help them if you don’t understand what they are saying. Insist that when they calm down and tell you calmly what’s wrong, you will be able to help them.
Being consistent when you are raising your child is also important. In fact, you can make a temperamental child even more so if there is no consistency in what you expect. Punishing them for a behavior once and allowing similar behavior another time will really keep them guessing, and this isn’t healthy for any child.
One reason some children become temperamental is because they feel like all choice has been taken away. Of course it is important not to let them have their way all the time, but offering them a few choices on things that don’t necessarily matter can go a long way. For example, let them choose from a few breakfast food choices or what they will have to drink after school.
Some children become temperamental when they don’t get the chance to spend enough quality time with you. This can be an early form of acting out to get attention. It’s important that you date your child regularly so that you show them that they are important. When your child knows that he can count on you to be around and spend quality time with him regularly, he will be less likely to have behavioral or temper tantrum issues.
All children need structure, but temperamental children probably need it even more than easier children. This is because they really need to have a routine so that they know what to expect. Varying the routine can create big temper tantrums because they won’t understand what is expected of them.
As you learn how to deal with your temperamental child, remember that he is also learning from you. This is why you’ve got to reward positive behavior and punish bad behavior. The only way to teach your child right from wrong is by rewarding and punishing as needed. Reinforce that positive behavior by giving him a treat—extra spending money, a piece of candy, etc. It doesn’t have to be anything big. The important thing is to connect the treat with the good behavior so that he knows why he’s getting a treat.
An important part of reinforcing positive behavior is also making sure that your child doesn’t always get what he wants. When you constantly cave because of his temper tantrums, he only learns one thing: that you will give him what he wants because he is throwing a fit. As hard as it is to do, you can’t give in when he throws a fit. If the answer is no, it’s still no, even if he’s throwing a tantrum.