How to React to Child Tantrums

MANHATTAN, Kan., March 30 (UPI) — A U.S. child-development expert suggests the public show understanding to the parent when a child acts out.

Unless there is obvious abuse, Chuck Smith of Kansas State University advises onlookers not to intervene unless they are offering help to the parent.

“Never assume you know what’s going on,” Smith said in a statement. “You have no idea how this child normally reacts and what this parent is going through.”

He recommends recognizing the parent’s struggle.

“You can say something like, ‘I’m sure it’s been a long day for you, what can I do to give you a hand?’” he suggests.

He tells parents it’s valid to ignore the whining of a child not getting a toy from the store.

“Any response to whining or crying, even punishment, shows that a child is in control and is pulling a parent’s strings,” Smith says. “The parent should rise above this noise and remain steadfast to the limit they set.”

Younger children should be asked to recall what they are supposed to do, and if they look confused, firmly reminded of the rule.

“You don’t ever punish a child for something they didn’t know they weren’t supposed to do,” Smith says.

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