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Tantrums, Fussing and Whining

From The No-Cry Discipline Solution by Elizabeth Pantley

If you ask parents to list the most frustrating discipline problems during early childhood, you would find that these three items appear on every list. All children master their own version of these behaviors - every parent has to deal with them!

Controlling their emotions
Most often these behaviors are caused by a child's inability to express or control his emotions. Tiredness, hunger, boredom, frustration and other causes that ignite The Big Three can frequently be avoided or modified. When your child begins a meltdown, try to determine if you can tell what underlying issue is causing the problem. Solve that problem and you'll likely have your sweet child back again.

Handling tantrums, fussing and whining
No matter how diligent you are in recognizing trigger causes, your child will still have meltdown moments. Or even meltdown days. The following tips can help you handle those inevitable bumps in the road. Be flexible and practice those solutions that seem to bring the best results.

Offer choices
You may be able to avoid problems by giving your child more of a say in his life. You can do this by offering choices. Instead of saying, "Get ready for bed right now," which may provoke a tantrum, offer a choice, "What would you like to do first, put on your pajamas or brush your teeth?" Children who are busy deciding things are often happy.

Get eye-to-eye
When you make a request from a distance your child will likely ignore you. Noncompliance creates stress, which leads to fussing and tantrums - from both of you. Instead, get down to your child's level, look him in the eye and make clear, concise requests. This will catch his full attention.

Tell him what you DO want
Instead of focusing on misbehavior and what you don't want him to do, explain exactly what you'd like your child to do or say instead. Give him simple instructions to follow.

Validate his feelings
Help your child identify and understand her emotions. Give words to her feelings, "You're sad. You want to stay here and play. I know." This doesn't mean you must give in to her request, but letting her know that you understand her problem may be enough to help her calm down.

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