Stay a step ahead.

What does the child get out of throwing fits? Simply put, attention. The parent will either get tired of hearing it and give in, get embarrassed and give in, or just give in for the sake of a happy tiny human. If their outburst goes unnoticed, the behavior can very well go even more haywire. That is why ignoring is only step one. The child must realize that they can get the attention they so desperately crave another way — through good behavior.

Modify the attention you give.

Sadly, too often parents respond to the wrong behaviors. Parents should practice exercising a reward system with their children. Entertain the behaviors you want to see.

The famous psychologist B.F. Skinner committed his career to analyzing behavior. One of his many studies concluded that children need a transitional love object such as a blanket or stuffed animal. That study also taught him the key to breaking bad behavior— figuring out what they get out of it.

Kids pull out their most maddening tricks in hopes of getting what they want and avoiding what they don’t. By ignoring your child’s fits of rage, it will deter future outbursts by showing them that their tactics are not effective. Eventually, the behavior will stop.

It is important to know that while children can irritatingly attention-seek to get what they want, a child’s actual pain, hurt feelings and behaviors that will affect others should not be ignored. Also, despite your temperamental tweens and teens requests, don’t leave them alone.

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