Tantrums take Three
What do we do when we understand clearly why our children are tantruming, but do not want to give them the particular thing they are wanting or can’t give it to them at that particular moment.
Let them know that crying and tantruming will not change the situation.
During The Son-Rise Program Intensive I was working with an 8 year old girl with Autism, we had been playing wonderfully for about 45 minutes. She then decides that she wants the playroom door to open, she tries to open it but it is locked. Now, I want us to stay in the playroom so that we can have a great session without the distractions that happen from going room to room in their apartment, so I know that I will not be opening the door for her.
So the first thing I do is tell her that the door is not going to open until 5pm and that I can get her anything she wants inside this room. I let her know where the bathroom is, where her snack and drinks are. Upon hearing this she starts to cry.
I then let her know that crying will not change the situation, the door will remain closed even if she cries.
To which she looks at me and then picks up the stool and starts to throw it at me, I catch it easily and let her know that:
Even if she throws things, the door will remain closed.
To which she goes into the bathroom and turns on all the taps, rustles the shower curtain, knocks over the garbage can and throws the toilet paper into the toilet, then comes out and looks at me. I let her know:
That even if she makes a mess the door will remain closed.
To which she takes off all her cloths and looks at me with her hands on her hips.
again I let her know:
That even if she takes off all her cloths the door will remain closed.
After that she puts on her cloths and starts playing with me again.
Now a hour or so later it was another Son Rise Program facilitators turn to play with her, on the transition she makes no attempt to leave the playroom or open the door. When I leave I watched the two of them play together, with in a few minutes, she starts to cry at the door asking the facilitator to open the door, when that does not work she then throws the stool at the facilitator, she tries everything she tried with me on the next facilitator.
She is smart, she is thinking, OK it does not work with Kate, but maybe it will with this new person. She is trying to figure out what is the best and fasted way to get want she wants for the people around her.
It may take your child some time to really believe that you will no longer respond to their tantrums, that tantruming will not change the situation, but if you can stick to this they WILL eventually get this, because you will have changed and taught them something else.
That sometimes you do not get want you want, and that it ok.