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Please tell me another way to handle the tantrums

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 

I've started a routine for cartoons for my 4.5 yr old because otherwise he was asking all the time. I give him an hour to 1.5 hrs at quiet time everyday. He almost always still asks at other times of the day and always ends in screaming,crying. I put him in his room because i can't handle the noise. I don't even agree with time-outs but I can't manage the screaming. Next step is getting rid of cartoons except the weekends. I want to know what ideas others might have. It is a purely bored tantrum. Once I tried playful parenting him out of it and it worked great but this is so much energy on a daily basis.

post #2 of 26

Does he have a 'routine'? Could you put a visual schedule up for him so he can recognize when he's allowed cartoons?

 

What other activity can you teach him to do to 'recharge' when he's hit a low energy point. My kids ask to watch TV at two points in time: when they're tired and want some downtime, and when they're bored. The first is OK for me, the 2nd is not.

 

What about a different system: He gets coupons for 30 minutes of cartoon time - and he gets 2 or 3 a day. He can choose to spend them all at once or save them and spread them out for times when he wants it. I'm not sure if a 4 1/2 year old would get this and it might lead to some major tantrums as he learns the new system (i.e. he'll spend them all in one morning and then be out for the day) .
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dandelionkid View Post
 Once I tried playful parenting him out of it and it worked great but this is so much energy on a daily basis.

 

But if you do it on a daily basis for a bit, (a) you'll get better and it won't take so much energy and (b) he'll feel more connected and accept the restriction better. Does it really take more energy than putting him in his room and listening to him cry? Some days, maybe. Many days, maybe not.

post #3 of 26

I am trying to wean my daughter off cartoons.

 

I have started by limiting it to one show at 9. I show her the clock and tell her "when it says 9". That worked until she started noticing the 11:09s for example. So I point and emphasize which digit has to say 9.

 

Anyway, I have found that "no" and "not now" result in tantrums, but if I say "yes, at 9," then she will generally accept that (though she still asks 12 more times)

 

If it is a boredom tantrum, then...prevent it? It takes a lot of time and energy but just create other activities for him to do, and do them with him. Help him to not get bored in the first place and keep him so busy that he forgets about TV until the right time.

post #4 of 26

We're homeschoolers so our son is home a lot. In our house we have dubbed Mondays "Cartoon Monday." Every Monday, he is allowed to watch cartoons. There's no strict time limit but if I see he's getting out of balance (i.e. too much TV and too little real-world play) then I step in. I make sure to explain why we limit it. We've had no problem thus far.

post #5 of 26

we do the same thing someone else mentioned...one day a week is "movie day" and dd is allowed (mostly) unlimited access to videos through that day...she usually finds herself growing bored after 2-4 videos (on days when she gets extreme and it's a little overboard, I work harder at interesting her in other activities).

every other day of the week is no tv...unless there is a special circumstance.

 

this REALLY curbed the tv whining in our house.

we used to do 1 video/day and b/c she didn't have a firm grasp of time, I felt like she pestered and whined for that 1 video all. day. long.  or pushed for another...and another..and another...

 

now, it's either tv day or it's not.  if it's not, that's the end of the story.  if it is, the balls in her court and we don't need to fight about it.

post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 


Good point on the playful parenting :)

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

Does he have a 'routine'? Could you put a visual schedule up for him so he can recognize when he's allowed cartoons?

 

What other activity can you teach him to do to 'recharge' when he's hit a low energy point. My kids ask to watch TV at two points in time: when they're tired and want some downtime, and when they're bored. The first is OK for me, the 2nd is not.

 

What about a different system: He gets coupons for 30 minutes of cartoon time - and he gets 2 or 3 a day. He can choose to spend them all at once or save them and spread them out for times when he wants it. I'm not sure if a 4 1/2 year old would get this and it might lead to some major tantrums as he learns the new system (i.e. he'll spend them all in one morning and then be out for the day) .
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dandelionkid View Post
 Once I tried playful parenting him out of it and it worked great but this is so much energy on a daily basis.

 

But if you do it on a daily basis for a bit, (a) you'll get better and it won't take so much energy and (b) he'll feel more connected and accept the restriction better. Does it really take more energy than putting him in his room and listening to him cry? Some days, maybe. Many days, maybe not.

post #7 of 26
Thread Starter 


Maybe we will have to do this. Thanks for the suggestion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy amber View Post

we do the same thing someone else mentioned...one day a week is "movie day" and dd is allowed (mostly) unlimited access to videos through that day...she usually finds herself growing bored after 2-4 videos (on days when she gets extreme and it's a little overboard, I work harder at interesting her in other activities).

every other day of the week is no tv...unless there is a special circumstance.

 

this REALLY curbed the tv whining in our house.

we used to do 1 video/day and b/c she didn't have a firm grasp of time, I felt like she pestered and whined for that 1 video all. day. long.  or pushed for another...and another..and another...

 

now, it's either tv day or it's not.  if it's not, that's the end of the story.  if it is, the balls in her court and we don't need to fight about it.

post #8 of 26

Our 3 kids always ask for T.V kids programs now and then during the day, I let them whenever they want it in the afternoons and then I start a puzzle, or start drawing or colouring sometimes if I feel like it. They almost always join in with me and forget about the t.v. Most days by the afternoon I'm so tired I sit and join them. we practice unconditional parenting so we do not have rules as such, making the household relaxed like that and respecting our childrens needs and wants they feel less pressure and often don't want to watch much and we end up playing cricket outside, however there are days when they are extra tired and sick and feel the need to rest so they watch a couple of hours of kids t.v. and I haven't seen any harm done, our 6 year old son is tops in hebrew at his school and our 4 year old daughter reads at a year 1 level. In the mornings I try to find other ideas for them to do and have told them I don't like t.v in the mornings as there is so much other fun stuff to do however I am always flexible. We have no extended family around so I get tired too.

post #9 of 26

What I have noticed with our 3 children is the more rules the more tantrums, rules and routine in my opinion stifle the child's creativity and respect. I started with our eldest son like that but found him becoming increasingly angry and frustrated. I thought there must be a better way and there is. Unconditional parenting is far from the old fashioned way of trying to control children and get them to do what you want. Sure rules are convenient for us. But parenting is about the needs of the child and we will have a much more relaxed and peaceful household as a result not to mention children who respect more and start to understand other's points of view from a remarkably young age because we are listening to their wants and feelings instead of stressing about rules and routine 24/7. Every house and home has a natural routine (morning, noon and night) anyway and I have never seen any need to push my children to eat dinner if they are not hungry that night or even 3-4 nights in a row, I have healthy options available for them all day and sometimes they just snack all day and sometimes they eat up all their dinner.

I find rules and routine boring and stressful myself so in order for me to enjoy my day witht the children I have learned to be flexible and have fun with them, so I have a good day and so do they. Bedtime also is flexible our children are 1, 4-and 6. They are usually all in bed by 7:30 -8pm and we do different things, sometimes we play games before bed, sometimes watch a movie, we do not have a bedtime routine and they always fall asleep happily and on time. Now and then our 6 year old wants time up with us till 9pm or 10pm but it is worth it seeing him enjoying himself talking with us and feeling loved and accepted for who he is not for what he does.

post #10 of 26

 

 

Quote:
What I have noticed with our 3 children is the more rules the more tantrums, rules and routine in my opinion stifle the child's creativity and respect.

 

I'm glad you found something that works for you and your family.  Not to argue with you, but just to present another viewpoint, I've found that to my children rules and routines very much help to keep the peace.  Rather than negotiating every single thing, there are things that we just don't do.  They're really things that a child wouldn't have an absolute need for, just a desire.  For example, we have juice once a day, not more than that.  We sometimes watch tv in the afternoon, not in the morning.  We have candy or treats every few days,but not every day.  Mom decides what choices there are for snacks/meals (though kids choose whether and how much to eat, and sometimes the choice is "anything from the snack cabinet.").  Stuff like that. That's not to say we can't listen and be flexible, but these types of things really aren't needs that must be met with that particular thing.  For us, helping our children to know how we do things has strongly curbed the whining and the tantrums.  When they want an exception, they can respectfully state their case, but in most of these cases I would calmly explain the general rule and offer another way to meet the need (offer a different drink, another calm activity, a piece of fruit, etc.)

 

Same thing with routines, it has dramatically lowered their anxiety levels and when we veer from the routines, while it's possible to do, they need a lot discussion about what to expect.  Otherwise they get anxious and stressed.  In our home, rules and routines keep us all happy, even when they occasionally need to be re-negotiated.  I'm not saying that's true for every household, but just wanted to offer that angle to the discussion. 

 

post #11 of 26

Here's what works for us.  My kids get one hour of TV or one movie a week.  Their chores have to be done and the TV room (playroom) has to be clean.  We also all gather on Friday for Family Movie Night (so fun!).  However, if anything (including TV) begins to cause conflict in our *relationship*, we address it and propose some ways to handle it, including getting rid of the thing.  So, if my five year old is nagging me for TV/movies beyond what she knows are the limits, we discuss the conflict and propose ways to deal with it.  Yes, there have been times when she has said, "mom, I'm so tired and I just want to chill out to the TV" or "I'm so bored".  To me these are perfect opportunities for teaching moments.  However, if this was an everyday, all day occurance, I would probably get rid of the TV.  He can still have quiet time - are there some special book/toys that you could use for this purpose?  I make a space for myself to have quiet time on weekends during the baby's nap and my older kids enjoy an activity/rest/book without me. 

post #12 of 26

I empathize completely. My daughter just turned 3, and it's hard to compete with television for "electronic babysitting." Remember, our brains process faces on the TV screen the same way we process "real life" friends. To your child, seeing Diego or Dora or whoever is like seeing a familiar, comforting friend to play with.  It's natural for a child to ask to play with a friend when they're bored or lonely or out of sorts. We adults like seeing our friends when we feel like that, so why wouldn't our children?

 

Also unhelpful is that as our children get older, it's less and less easy to redirect them.  What I have found helps is rather than just saying "No!"  (although that can be a perfectly appropriate response sometimes), I try to say, "Wouldn't you rather _______?"  And I substitute in something that she loves to do, but that we don't do very often. It especially helps when I am part of the activity. For instance, I can often redirect her with making cupcakes together, going to the park, going to the germ-pit at the mall, playing on the iPad together, playing with her little people together, etc.  

 

I will make an exception and just let her rot her brain if she's really sick or if I'm on deadline with work.  (I work from home.)  FWIW, the research shows that kids who watch lots of television are more successful socially than those kids who watch less TV, mainly because they're better at being mean and deceptive. Scary, huh?

 

I think preventing temper tantrums is a different question.  It's impossible to say, "This will prevent temper tantrums," because each child and their situation is unique. I will say two things:

 

One, that the temper tantrum is a reaction that makes perfect sense to your son at the time. No one randomly gets uncontrollably angry, unless they have a glandular disorder. What you need to do is find out why your child loses it. As you've found, you can't make your child not have a temper tantrum. You have two options:

  1. you can make the consequences so severe that the child will change their reaction due to fear of the consequences, or
  2. you can change the situation so that the reaction doesn't occur. 

 

Two: I have found several books helpful:

 

post #13 of 26

I found it true that not having limits on t.v. means they will use it like any other choice.  My kids don't want to sit in front of the t.v. for hours.  And when they do watch, they are often doing something else, like writing or drawing or dancing, at the same time.

 

I've heard that if you started out with limits, however, when you lift them, children may binge until they trust that they will always have the freedom to choose.

post #14 of 26

My oldest is only 27 months old, but when he throws a tantrum, I stay by him, since I don't expect him to be able to handle the outburst of emotions he's feeling, and I will try to calm him down. But whatever answer I gave him that set off the tantrum still stays the same. As he gets older, we'll start showing him more age-appropriate ways to express his emotions.

 

As for TV, he doesn't like it that much - we simply turned it off whenever he was in the room. But he now loves to watch Arthur on PBS, so I record that on the PVR in our bedroom where I often breastfeed his new brother. I get a few moments of quiet time with breastfeeding, and Khristopher gets to see Arthur.

post #15 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsH View Post

 

 

Quote:
What I have noticed with our 3 children is the more rules the more tantrums, rules and routine in my opinion stifle the child's creativity and respect.

 

I'm glad you found something that works for you and your family.  Not to argue with you, but just to present another viewpoint, I've found that to my children rules and routines very much help to keep the peace.  Rather than negotiating every single thing, there are things that we just don't do.  They're really things that a child wouldn't have an absolute need for, just a desire.  For example, we have juice once a day, not more than that.  We sometimes watch tv in the afternoon, not in the morning.  We have candy or treats every few days,but not every day.  Mom decides what choices there are for snacks/meals (though kids choose whether and how much to eat, and sometimes the choice is "anything from the snack cabinet.").  Stuff like that. That's not to say we can't listen and be flexible, but these types of things really aren't needs that must be met with that particular thing.  For us, helping our children to know how we do things has strongly curbed the whining and the tantrums.  When they want an exception, they can respectfully state their case, but in most of these cases I would calmly explain the general rule and offer another way to meet the need (offer a different drink, another calm activity, a piece of fruit, etc.)

 

Same thing with routines, it has dramatically lowered their anxiety levels and when we veer from the routines, while it's possible to do, they need a lot discussion about what to expect.  Otherwise they get anxious and stressed.  In our home, rules and routines keep us all happy, even when they occasionally need to be re-negotiated.  I'm not saying that's true for every household, but just wanted to offer that angle to the discussion. 

 

 

I agree with you.  The best thing we can do for our children is teach them self-regulation.  Some kids are born with an exceptionally even keel and can get by with little structure.  Some children are able to master self-regulation incidentally.  Many kids need routine and parental guidance to allay anxiety.  This isn't just about parenting philosophy; it's also about neuropsychological development.  The health risks for children who are unable to self-regulate are multitudinous: obesity, mental illness, sleep disorders, unhealthy sexual behavior, behavioral disorders, substance abuse, aggression, antisocial behavior, criminal behavior, etc.  These aren't my assertions.  They are the results of long-term, randomized controlled studies.  I might add that my own experience replicates this on an anecdotal level.  
 

post #16 of 26


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bluebackpacks View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by MrsH View Post

 

 

Quote:
What I have noticed with our 3 children is the more rules the more tantrums, rules and routine in my opinion stifle the child's creativity and respect.

 

I'm glad you found something that works for you and your family.  Not to argue with you, but just to present another viewpoint, I've found that to my children rules and routines very much help to keep the peace.  Rather than negotiating every single thing, there are things that we just don't do.  They're really things that a child wouldn't have an absolute need for, just a desire.  For example, we have juice once a day, not more than that.  We sometimes watch tv in the afternoon, not in the morning.  We have candy or treats every few days,but not every day.  Mom decides what choices there are for snacks/meals (though kids choose whether and how much to eat, and sometimes the choice is "anything from the snack cabinet.").  Stuff like that. That's not to say we can't listen and be flexible, but these types of things really aren't needs that must be met with that particular thing.  For us, helping our children to know how we do things has strongly curbed the whining and the tantrums.  When they want an exception, they can respectfully state their case, but in most of these cases I would calmly explain the general rule and offer another way to meet the need (offer a different drink, another calm activity, a piece of fruit, etc.)

 

Same thing with routines, it has dramatically lowered their anxiety levels and when we veer from the routines, while it's possible to do, they need a lot discussion about what to expect.  Otherwise they get anxious and stressed.  In our home, rules and routines keep us all happy, even when they occasionally need to be re-negotiated.  I'm not saying that's true for every household, but just wanted to offer that angle to the discussion. 

 

 

I agree with you.  The best thing we can do for our children is teach them self-regulation.  Some kids are born with an exceptionally even keel and can get by with little structure.  Some children are able to master self-regulation incidentally.  Many kids need routine and parental guidance to allay anxiety.  This isn't just about parenting philosophy; it's also about neuropsychological development.  The health risks for children who are unable to self-regulate are multitudinous: obesity, mental illness, sleep disorders, unhealthy sexual behavior, behavioral disorders, substance abuse, aggression, antisocial behavior, criminal behavior, etc.  These aren't my assertions.  They are the results of long-term, randomized controlled studies.  I might add that my own experience replicates this on an anecdotal level.  
 


I firmly agree about the need to teach self-regulation of emotions, etc. I would, perhaps, disagree about the need for rules to teach self-regulation. Research shows that external, arbitrary rule imposition does not, in fact, teach self-regulation.  What does teach self regulation is unconditional love, acceptance, and meeting their needs from birth.  Infants are incapable of "manipulating" adults.  This isn't to say that routines are bad, but that forcing very young children to strictly adhere to externally imposed routines isn't comforting, but stressful.  It's the resulting consistent stress that causes "obesity, mental illness, sleep disorders, unhealthy sexual behavior, behavioral disorders, substance abuse, aggression, antisocial behavior, criminal behavior, etc."  Furthermorechildren who do not learn to regulate themselves eventually cannot regulate themselves because they're used to external forces doing it for them.

 

I would like to add that I join Trooper in comforting my child when they're upset, angry, etc.  I never let her cry-it-out.  Even when she's angry at me, she still needs to be comforted, reassured of my love and affection and know that it's OK to be angry at Mommy.  In fact, she's learned to simply be able to say, "I'm mad at you" in a relatively calm manner, confident that I won't punish her for expressing her true emotions.

post #17 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Courtney-Ostaff View Post

 

it's OK to be angry at Mommy.  In fact, she's learned to simply be able to say, "I'm mad at you" in a relatively calm manner, confident that I won't punish her for expressing her true emotions.

 

I agree.  My post wasn't meant to suggest that cold, hard authoritarian parenting is the way to go.  For me, firm (appropriate) boundaries, tons of love, and more than a modicum of silliness get the job done.  There is a false dichotomy in assuming that parenting with boundaries/structure/discipline isn't attachment parenting.  Strict authoritarian parenting impedes neuropsychological development, when the parent does not display empathy.  In these cases, it is likely (though, not to be assumed) that the parent has some sort of personality disturbance.

 

To be clear, I am not just referring to emotional regulation when I reference self-regulation.  Furthermore, I am always happy to provide academic references for my assertions.  My opinions?  Well, those are mine alone.   

post #18 of 26

Courtney, thank you for adding in that dimension.  I agree with you on all points!  I was talking about my 4 and 8 year olds, and to a much lesser extent the toddler who is just now getting any practice at waiting.  The older two are very much capable of manipulating situations.  They certainly may (and do) tell me when they're mad, or doesn't like something I did, or tell me to go away, or ask for a hug.  The point is that I require the older two to use their words, which they have both demonstrated they are capable of and which we work on at times that they are calm to help them get even better at it.  We're using the codeword (as they like to think of it) "I want you" to mean "I have no idea how to express myself whatsoever but I'm feeling bad and I want you to hug me and sit with me and love on me."  I respond to that very differently than, for example, telling someone that right now we're not watching tv but we can do x or y, and the child responding by falling on the floor screaming.  Again, the older two, the little one is practicing her tantrum abilities.  I don't know if I'm making any sense here, but I just wanted to say that I do fully agree with you about unconditionally loving my kids, responding to their cues in age-appropriate ways, and not punishing, especially not for expressing their emotions. 

post #19 of 26

My DD is 5 and a half, and still having screaming tantrums that were really beyond me.  I recommend the book The Explosive Child.  It was really helpful to me in figuring out how to deal with her melt-downs, what was causing them, how to make them less intense.

 

Is the problem that he asks for tv too much or that he has tantrums when he doesn't get it? 

 

A few things that pop out at me are: Why does he want cartoons so much?  Has he gotten really into one character?  If so, can you transition him over to some coloring or story books or encourage him to sit at the table and draw or narrate his own story about that character? 

 

What are his other play options besides cartoons?  Are you giving him specific activities as an alternative?  At 3, my DD was happy to play Polly Pockets independently.  Now at 5, she only wants to play WITH SOMEONE and I can't always do that.  She's just not entertaining herself and I can't force that.  If I don't want her to watch tv I have to have easy crafts available that she can do in proximity to me while I do xyz that needs to get done.

post #20 of 26

@BlueBackPacks: I apologize if I came across too harshly. It's hard to edit one's tone on line!  I like your point that "There is a false dichotomy in assuming that parenting with boundaries/structure/discipline isn't attachment parenting." Part of having your child's trust is knowing when to use that trust to good effect--e.g., setting boundaries. I'm actually more liberal than most parents I know, and I always tell my daughter why she can't do something.  I'm eagerly awaiting the day when she can rebut my point. :)  You can't let them go play in the street with scissors! 

 

I think many parents do lose their sense of empathy along the way, and it's not necessarily a sign of a disorder on their part. Empathy is difficult and parenting can be frustrating.  I've recently started reading Alice Miller's For Your Own Good, and I find the forgotten religious rationale behind current mainstream parenting tactics to be just fascinating!

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