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Every parent is familiar with the extreme and incessant whining of a child who insists on having things their way at some time. Is there a way to make these outbursts or tantrums stop or somehow prevent them? Here’s how it can be done and how to deal with them. 

grayscale photo of a boy crying whining
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This blog article invites you to join the adventure of parenthood—a rollercoaster ride filled with laughter, love, and yes, a fair share of tantrums. If you’ve ever found yourself in a battle of wills with your pint-sized rebel, you’re not alone.

In my article, we’ll embark on a journey together, exploring practical strategies and heartfelt advice aimed at taming those tumultuous tantrums and restoring harmony to your home. So buckle up, fellow dads (and moms), because we’re about to dive headfirst into the wild world of parenting and the different ways to tackle your child’s temper tantrum!

Tips to Help Dads(and Moms) With Temper Tantrums

Before you exhaust yourself completely or give in to your toddler’s tantrums and demands, try out this list of things to do before YOU flip out:

Stay Cool With A Positive Attitude

Some kids may use shouting, punching, screaming, or sobbing to get a response from their parents. Take control of the situation…If the adults respond with annoyance and emotional reactions, the child might see that their ‘tactic’ is actually working as such the child may take their inappropriate conduct as a means of gaining the focus they crave. 

Rather, parents should carefully yet firmly reprimand the kid’s behavior by saying something like, “Please ask properly” or “Don’t hit me like that, it’s not nice. Would you hit your friends or teacher like  that?” If you freak out with annoyance at your child, expect that they will adopt the same attitude as an accepted way to demonstrate displeasure or aggressive behavior.

When young children persist, try not to give in. Make it clear: ‘If you talk to me properly I will listen to you.’ I often use this suggestion in many of the cases that might sprout up. Then turn your back to the child, who is whining, and ignore them like checking a random object or looking outside the window, anything to show that you’re not paying attention and that their ‘little’ banshee-like screaming is good only for Hollywood movies not in the home or public. Avoid eye contact at all costs.

boy hugging his dad while taking selfie
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Nip Angry Outbursts in The Bud

When a youngster is being whiny or exhibiting ‘that behavior’, it could be an indication that something is wrong. Maybe your kids need more entertainment or physical activities, or they could just be hungry sooner than the usual mealtime. It could also signal that he/she did not get enough sleep during their nap or the night before. 

If your child starts a power struggle or their own emotions are all over the place, consider the circumstances that led up to it. It may be that a midmorning healthy snack could prevent a difficult situation before lunchtime, or a trip to the park to let the child expend some energy could be the right course of action.

Keep a Sleep Routine and Pay Attention

Emotional outbursts are often a child’s way of showing a lack of sleep. Depending on your child’s age, children require longer and more frequent sleep and sometimes naps. Think about if your child’s sleep routine is dependable and working well. You can adjust it as needed, understand your child, and go with the flow.

If your child begins acting up in the early evening, before his or her regular sleep time, maybe it is their way of requesting to go to sleep a little sooner. If your child is terrorizing the house by mid-morning, they may need to take a nap. You may have to make changes so your child has the perfect amount of sleep. 

Since the age of 3, my son has been going to bed between 8ish and 9ish, it’s like clockwork, and wakes up at 8 am with very little fussing around, as he knows that after our nightly reading, it’s lullaby time and ‘ZZZ’ time. Easy peasy.

white sugar cubes on blue surface kids cocaine makes kids whine
Photo by Mikhail Nilov on

Decrease the Sugar(Kid’s Cocaine)

Sorry to put the drug reference but it’s true and evidence(new and old) points out how addictive sugar is. 

Eating habits and conduct are usually intertwined, and in kids, sugar can act like a drug. If you are repeatedly giving your child glasses of juice, you could be overdoing it on sugar without knowing it. Also, candy, soft drinks, and other processed food items sometimes contain a lot of sugar. Once the sugar high dissipates, the low follows(The CRASH!). And with the low comes toddler tantrums, fits, and negative emotions. 

Next time monitor your kid’s eating patterns, and observe their behavior. Maybe a little bit of change will make a big difference. I remember my dad giving me and my brothers ice cream floats with soda late in the evening…Craziness all over the house! But that was the 80s and we now know better. Don’t we?

Appropriate Responses: Discipline+Hugs

In order to bring out the best in your child you should also praise and thank them for the good that they do. Teaching young ones that their actions have consequences is essential. Make sure to let your child understand that you will follow through with the discipline you lay down if their bad behavior continues.

For instance, let them know that if they yell at you, they will be sent to their room or there will be no TV time. Of course, keep in mind the age of the child… Afterward, when they are ready to try again, ask them to apologize and offer a hug. This will help them comprehend that their time out was for their own benefit. Hugs are not only great at stopping tantrums they are proven to make kids smarter. No kidding!

The most significant part of discipline is staying consistent. No matter how busy you are, always find the time to enforce a time-out if necessary. Just as important as addressing bad behavior, is celebrating good behavior. If they can manage to resolve an issue without whining, make sure to give them plenty of praise. This will help them understand that a tranquil and rational attitude to challenging situations brings the most beneficial results in the first place. 

I have only scolded my son on a handful of occasions, as he understands well not to make any type of fuss or outbursts. Overacting leads nowhere… He has acted very maturely for his 5 years and he is aware of bad vs good actions… Hugs people…it’s all about the hugs!

They Are Only Young Once! Be Flexible

A good parent should always keep in mind that children are just being children and that their minds are always running with ideas. Thus, when they are deeply engaged in a task or having a good time at the park, they may not be ready to leave. If circumstances allow, it is best to come to a middle ground with your child and avoid a public tantrum.

For example, “You can go another round on your scooter, but we must go home in 5 minutes” or “We can read only one more story’ before bedtime. 

 By compromising with your youngster, they will know that it is better to talk things out than to whine and misbehave. The best way to help out with this I’ve learned is to put an alarm on my phone as loud as possible, if I’m outside. I tell him that when it rings we are out of here! It always works.

crying asian boy lying on road whining
Photo by Trần Long on

common whining melt-downs and how to avoid them at all costs

***The ever-popular and ill-timed shopping tantrum!

So what now? Your kid is squirming all over the floor like a live squid you get at the fish market!… According to research: the average tantrum lasts around 11 minutes. Now, that’s a looooong time when you’re out in public, but it’ll pass. Not to rain on your parade…some tantrums last for over 25 minutes! Ouch, but I had to put that in. But it’s all about how you deal with it…

Screw what the passerby thinks of the situation. Why not sit on the floor with your child and conversate with them in a low-soft tone to calm them down? First off, this tantrum started for a reason…what is that reason? Prevention overreaction all the time! You know your kids better than I do…prevention! Be proactive, not reactive.

Daddy Tip- Give them the shopping list to hold and guide you to the right aisle. You can also ask them to find the bananas or the cereals that they want. Keep them busy! I let my son hang on the cart while I push it. Simple! I also give my son the duty to find some products and read the expiry dates aloud to me. He loves it.

***The “Are we there yet” and the other backseat complaints

I live in South Korea. If you’ve never driven here, DON’T! It’s unlike any other country I’ve seen. It’s often a madhouse on the road, so the last thing I need is that cute little banshee in the backseat asking me when we will arrive plus some occasional whining. This is a sensitive point for me so this is what we do…

Daddy Tip- I could give him my phone and he could watch Hello Carbot on Youtube, but I’m not that kind of dad and I dislike screentime with a passion++Daddy Simply++

So my wife and I always have multilingual music available for us to sing along to, and little buddy loves it. On top of that we play games like: what do you see? or have a few books ready and Pokemon cards for him to look at. Simple.

Little boy in the field doing meditation after a tantrum

Alternative Ways to Deal With A Child’s Tantrum

Redirect the Energy

When your little one starts revving up like a tiny tornado and showing intense emotions, steer them toward a new activity. Whether it’s coloring, building blocks, or playing with their favorite toys, distraction can be your secret weapon or even a change of location.

Create a Calm Down Corner

Designate a special spot in your home where your kid can go to chill out when they’re feeling overwhelmed. Fill it with a stuffed animal, comfy pillows, their favorite books, or calming sensory toys to help them relax and regroup.

Turn Up the Tunes

 Music has magical powers when it comes to soothing frazzled nerves. Put on their favorite tunes or some calming instrumental music to help melt away the meltdowns.

Get Moving

Sometimes a case of the grumpies can be cured with a little physical activity. Take a family dance break, go for a walk around the block, or have a mini workout session together to shake off those bad vibes. This method is often used at our home and it’ll cool down your child’s tantrums pronto…

Practice Deep Breathing

Teach your kiddo the power of deep and slow breathing to help them calm down when they’re feeling upset. Take deep breaths together, counting in and out slowly, to help them find their inner zen.

Use Positive Reinforcement

Catch your child being good and shower them with praise and encouragement. Positive reinforcement can work wonders in shaping behavior and boosting their self-esteem.

Empathize and Validate

Show empathy towards your child’s feelings and let them know that it’s okay to feel frustrated or upset. Validate their emotions while gently guiding them towards more constructive ways to express themselves.

Lead by Example

Remember, your little one is always watching and learning from you. Model calm and patient behavior, even when you’re feeling stressed or frazzled.

boy having a tantrum behind some ropes. Black and white picture

5 Potential Reasons For Outbursts

While the triggers for tantrums can vary from child to child, here are five common reasons why children might have outbursts:

  1. Frustration: Children often lack the language skills or emotional maturity to express their needs or desires effectively, leading to frustration when they can’t communicate or achieve what they want.
  2. Fatigue: Just like adults, tiredness can make children irritable and prone to meltdowns. Skipping naps or having disrupted sleep patterns can exacerbate this.
  3. Hunger: Hangry isn’t just a phenomenon for adults! Hunger can lead to crankiness and tantrums in children, especially if mealtimes are delayed or snacks are skipped.
  4. Overstimulation: Too much noise, activity, or sensory input can overwhelm young children, leading to meltdowns as they struggle to cope with their environment.
  5. Transition or Change: Children thrive on routine and predictability, so transitions or changes in their environment—such as starting daycare, moving to a new house, or even just switching activities—can trigger anxiety and frustration, resulting in tantrums.

Last Thing…

First thing, I can’t speak for parents who have two or more kids, as I have a son and he’s an only child. I wrote some tips that will work on most kids, surely, it’s a simple matter of effectively using these constantly and throwing in some good old routines.  

Additionally, pay attention when your child is speaking, as sometimes their tantrums can start when they feel that they are not being heard. I always listen to my son and reply to most of his questions and I knee-down all the time to see eye to eye, while conversating, with him instead of him staring up at me. That’s important.

Don’t forget to praise them for talking in a normal manner. It’s important to treat them like a member of the family not like a broke-little-friend-living-rent-free in your house.

Set limits stick to them, and make sure that both parents are on board with the rules. For older kids, suggest they come up with a solution to their problem rather than offering your 2 cents, as this may prolong the whining. 

Finally, extra attention and quality family time may be beneficial if the child’s behavior is a symptom of a larger problem such as a divorce or family illness. If needed, talk to the pediatrician for professional help.

With these extra tips in your toolbox, you’ll be ready to tackle tantrums and fussy days like a pro. Keep calm, Dad, grab a coffee, and parent on!

Remember, they are only young once.

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