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The Tantrum Place

An Atlanta parent asks for help with her 2-year-old's out of control temper tantrums.

Dear Susan,

My 2-year-old’s tantrums are disrupting our family!  She flails about, screams, cries and rolls around the floor.  If we walk away, she follows us until we stop walking and then she “entertains” us some more.  How, how, how do we make her drama stop?

Done in Atlanta

 

Dear Done,

Yes, I remember those days.  I tried ignoring, mocking and I even joined in!  But nothing was as effective and peaceful as “the tantrum place.”

Here’s how it works.  First, designate a place in your home that will be your daughter's tantrum place.  I used the downstairs powder room.  The room was childproofed and the most damage our daughter could do was unroll the toilet paper.  Which she never did.  

Next, in the morning, wake your daughter up and tell her you have great news!  Take her to the tantrum place and tell her that from now on, she has her own special place to go when she gets upset and needs to scream and yell.  Let her know that you understand how frustrating it is for her sometimes and from now on, you and your husband will no longer try to get her to stop crying.  You’ll simply walk her to the special tantrum place, close the door and she can scream and yell and kick and roll around all she wants.  And, when she’s ready, she can open the door, come out and join the family again.  

So, when she begins her next tantrum, simply take her by the arm, walk her to the tantrum place while saying, “Oh, I can tell you are very upset and I understand so here you go to the tantrum place and you can yell and scream all you need to, Sweetie.  Just come on out when you’re ready to join the rest of the family.”  And close the door and walk away.  

If she comes out, calmly take her arm and place her back into the tantrum place. 

One day, before too long, your daughter will be taking herself to her tantrum place without your suggestion.  And that day is a beautiful day indeed!

Best of luck and let me know how it goes.

Susan

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