Tantrums, Meltdowns, Wig-Outs, Episodes, Fits, Whining, Whinging, Crying – so many words to describe one event.
Here at The Autism Treatment Center of America we have many useful and successful techniques and attitudes to help children on the Autism Spectrum remain calm when things do not go their way. Today I am writing about just one attitude that is key to helping our children move through their tantrum.
1. My role is not to stop my child from tantruming, it is to show them that it is not an effective way of communicating.
When our children begin to tantrum, what can happen is that everyone around them is centered on trying to get them to stop. Imagine if you did not feel the need to do this? Imagine the message that would send to your child. Their tantrums would no longer cause the adults around them to rush around trying to fix the “problem”, it would instead change nothing. Wow, often times we see that this alone helps children to change their once very effective behaviour to something else. Our children are very clever, they will not continue to do something that no longer gets them what they want.
If you really take this on board, “I don’t have to stop my child from tantruming”, really breath that into your very core, that will help you change the way you react when your child tantrums. Maybe you would even say to your child, “Hey honey knock yourself out, scream as loud and as long as you want, this is OK with me, just want you to know that it will not help you get what you want.”
I remember very vividly saying a version of this to a little girl I was working with, who literally did a double take , scratched her head, stopped crying, and said “oh”, and then carried on playing as if nothing had happened.
Enjoy showing your children that you do not need them to stop their tanrums anymore.
Love to you all!