Children are smart, and even toddlers know if an adult is susceptible to giving in, or going back on their word. Young children throw fits and tantrums because their feelings and emotions are too overwhelming for them to handle, so they just sort of explode. This is normal, but how you handle it is of the upmost importance. Consistency is the way to go, all the time, every time.
When a Tantrum Happens
Tantrums should be ignored; let your child know that you are willing to talk to them about the situation after they calm down. If you are consistent in never giving into a tantrum or fit, your child will learn that tantrums don’t work as an effective means of getting what they want. However, if you try to negotiate, or give in to the screaming, crying, and yelling just once, you are sending the message that if the tantrum is long and loud enough, you will eventually cave. And if that happens, you can rest assured that the tantrums will continue well into the future, past the normal stage of child development.
Being Consistent Across the Board
Consistency is key throughout your child’s growth and development. This is especially important if your child has another caregiver during the days. Make sure that you and all the other caregivers (other parents, grandparents, nannies, etc.) are all on the same page. Discuss acceptable limits you want set for your child, and how you expect everyone to handle difficult situations. If you are all on the same page, it makes it more difficult for your child to get away with things you wouldn’t approve of when you are not around.
Consistency is the heart of routine, and children need routines; they find comfort in knowing what to expect throughout the day, and what is expected of them. If you expect your children to do chores, be consistent about it and make them do those chores every day. Eventually, it will become a part of their routine. You also need to be consistent with your word. If you say, “No,” make sure you stick with “No” every time. If you dole out a punishment, stick to it no matter how much they argue or fight it; this gives you credibility as a parent. You don’t always have to be right, you just have to be consistent.