What To Do When Your Child Starts Throwing a Fit

What To Do When Your Child Starts Throwing a Fit

Written By: Brittany Lewis

One of the most frustrating and embarrassing parts of parenting is when one of your children throws a fit, especially in public.

Before I get into what to do when your child starts throwing a fit and how to handle that situation calmly, it’s essential to know the difference between tantrum cases and meltdowns.

A meltdown and a tantrum can look the same in many ways, but the cause is very different. A meltdown normally takes place because a child is overstimulated. – What is a Meltdown?

A tantrum occurs typically because a child wants something tangible, like a toy or a piece of candy, and can’t get their way. There is usually a consequence for a tantrum, like a time out, or being yelled at or even spanked.

There is typically no adverse consequence for a meltdown because a meltdown is not a child’s fault.

What To Do When Your Child Starts Throwing a Fit

Throwing a Fit
Photo by mohamed Abdelgaffar on

One of the most challenging parts of dealing with tantrums is that they so often happen in public, such as a grocery store or a shopping mall, because the child wants something they can’t have.

Often, these happen because the child has learned from past experiences that if they start screaming, crying, or asking for something excessively, the parent will give in to them out of frustration, and the child will get what they want.

However, as difficult as it is, my advice for dealing with this situation is the same whether you’re at home or in public, ignore it. That’s right; completely ignore your child’s behavior.

Don’t react to it. If you do, you’ll still be reinforcing the behavior, even if you respond negatively, and this only feeds to the child that if they do XYZ (scream, cry, hit, kick, throw themselves on the floor), you’ll react to them.

The best advice that I can give you is to wait this out. Move them if they need to be moved (like bringing them to the car or into a family bathroom) and wait this out until they calm down.

I recommend moving them somewhere private if you’re able to so they aren’t disrupting others around you. So they are taught that when we get too upset about something, it’s not only appropriate, but it’s also encouraged to give ourselves a “time out” until we calm down.

They will, eventually. If you do this, it will end this behavior entirely. Maybe not right away, but trust me, they will probably only throw a few more tantrums after this if you never react.

There won’t be a point. These are practices that I put into place with my children, and a personal time out is something we all practice in my family if we feel ourselves getting upset.

This isn’t meant to be something negative, but merely a time to be alone with your emotions so you can manage them effectively. Children need some guidance when it comes to managing their feelings.

My advice for dealing with a meltdown is different because that’s a very different situation. I’ll be going over how to handle a meltdown in another article.

I hope this has helped shed some light on the differences between a meltdown and a tantrum, why they occur, and how you can help decrease the negative behavior of tantrum cases in your child.

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