What Do You Do When Your Kids Throw A Tantrum?

Friday, September 11, 2015

I guess when you become a mother, being at the receiving end of a tantrum is inevitable.

"I don't want to wear this pink dressssssss!!!!!"
Contrary to popular beliefs, when a child throws a tantrum, it isn't necessarily mean that the child is "bad", or that your parenting skills have failed.

Scientifically speaking, there is this front part of the brain called the prefrontal cortex (PFC). It regulates emotion and controls social behaviour, and is also the last area of the brain to develop.

Generally, the PFC only begin to mature at age 4. As such, children doesn't really understand what needs to be done at certain situations - they cry when they are sad, they laugh when they are happy and they throw their temper when they are angry. Somehow, it is uncontrollable for them.


So recently, while I was out at a shopping mall with the kids, planning to grab lunch, there was a little boy with his family seated beside us.

The drinks were served and each little kid gets coloured straws for their drinks - Dylan got a blue one while Alexis got a red one. The little boy at the other table got a yellow one.... and it started.

The boy saw that Dylan was drinking through his blue straw and he refused to take his yellow one. At about four to five years old, he was completely capable to explain to his mother that he wanted the blue straw. Nothing but.

Pointing to Dylan, he started whining, "I want the blue strawwwwwwwwwwwwww"

His mommy, who didn't want to trouble the waiter for another straw, a specific blue one some more. So she told the toddler, "Both straws are the same, my dear. The yellow one is nice too. It doesn't make any difference."

But things got worse. The boy refused to sit on his seat and burst out into a full-blown crying spree. Like it was the saddest day ever because he couldn't get a blue straw. He stomped his feet, shook his head, wailed like he has never wailed before and all eyes were on them.

My question to all of you mummies is:
 What will you do if you're that mummy?

Share with me what would you do in that scenario. Will you ignore the child's tantrums and insist on your stand, or will you give in to him?

Here are what some mummies has shared with me:


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Personally, I have very, very low tolerance for tantrums and I believe that once I give in to them when they throw their weight around, they would always throw their temper in order to "win". Given that scenario, to be honest... I will offer my son 3 choices:

1. Ask the waiter nicely himself for a blue straw. There is no way in the world I will ask it for him, since he was the one who insisted on a blue straw. :x

2. Shut up and take the drink with the yellow straw.

3. Leave the drink alone. If he cannot learn to compromise and settle on a solution, then don't drink!

I have to agree that some times, some of my friends, even my own husband, say that I am too harsh on my children. Some say that they are trying to assert their independence and I am sniffling it out. Others call me a Tiger Mom because what would a 3-year-old know? They are so young!

So, what's your take on this? Share them with me. :)

You can also leave your feedback on this Instagram post for additional chances!

* Do note that the contest is only opened to mummies and daddies with LOs above 6 months, due to restricted regulations in Singapore.

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  1. My approach is explain straws are straws, irregardless of colour. Knowing my 3yo, this answer will not satisfy her. After explaining, I will just leave her to either drink it with what she has, or just simply drink without a straw, or just don't drink.

  2. I always use a "stop and speak" situation. If my girl can stop can speak, fine, I can give in to the blue straw but if she continues to whine, I will take away the whole drink, in a way take away her privilege. I believe in using situations to teach children on the expected behavior and yes I believe maturity plays a part in understanding expectations too.

  3. FB jaime chan
    its a tough call, but typically, i will let him choose, straw or no straw. i will not purposely inconvenience myself to search for a blue straw to satisfy him

  4. Let the child understand that other colour straw is also very nice!

  5. He won't get the straw he wanted until he asked for them nicely. Their rationale and ours are different. My son wants Mommy to close the car door, not daddy. Sometimes he wants daddy to make milk, not mommy. Of course it doesn't matter who closes the door or make the milk but to them, it matters. All it takes is to ask politely. If the milk had been made or door had been closed, he will have to live with that. Cry and throw tantrums all he wants but he will have to accept it. If he doesn't and kick up a bigger fuss, he gets punished.

    This boy you are talking about? I don't know. Firstly, I will not judge. I will always ask, "Is he a special child?" Sometimes, specials cannot be physically determined. Cognitive (under) development cannot be picked up by the naked eye.

  6. Actually if it happened, I'll ask why the blue straw is so important to the kid too, rather than try to just impose my thoughts on the situation. If the kid has a really good reason as to why the blue straw is important, sure I wouldn't mind going to get it for her myself. Maybe somebody promised the kid a blue straw previously but didn't follow up on the promise? Or maybe she wants to keep the straw for an artpiece that needs a blue straw? I don't know.. but if there's a valid reason and it's not just because of a frivolous tantrum, then ok.

    If not, then I'll then explain why it's important to NOT get the blue straw and cry about it.

    Ai @ Sakura Haruka

  7. Hmmm.. this is a very interesting post. If its just wanting a blue colour straw and we have the option to get a blue straw, I will ask him if he can ask for it himself from the waiter. Since he is 5 years old, I will call the waiter over and ask my child to ask himself. I think it is a teachable moment. Also, at 5 years old, he is demonstrating a preference, and I think we can respect that preference. This is not a case of giving in to him every time, but a blue straw? We can let him win this round. Just my personal thoughts. Now, if he wants the blue straw that your son already was drinking from, that will be a different story altogether.

  8. My little toddler is going through that tantrum stage where with every drop of a pin she will make a fuss and cry over everything. I have such instances in a train as well where everyone start looking at me but i usually let her calm down first then explain her or try to divert her attention.

  9. My son is now 6 and although I seldom give in to tantrums and he knows it, I also orefer to pick my battles.

    Presented with this situation, I do not think that allowing the child to change the colour of the straw is giving into him. It is a small thing to request for a new straw. If it solves the problem before it escalates into a tantrum, why not? At least everyone can have a peaceful enjoyable meal after that.

    Also, other points to note is if the child has been having an overly tired day which leads to crankiness etc. The parent may want to consider just letting go before it gets into a big fiasco. Once it gets into a tantrum fight, then it's really a mummy vs child battle which I find totally unnecessary for this small matter. Cheers haha just my 2 cents.

    Audrey @ SAys! Happy Mums

  10. We let our own kids made their own decision, and hopefully they stick with it.
    Otherwise, they to share/cooperate/negotiate and forge a consensus among themselves.

    If they insist on bickering rather than sharing, I would need to remove their benefit.

    cheers, andy

  11. I can totally emphatise with kids' tantrums. What I have learnt is to pick our battles. If it's a v petty issue, I'll let it go. For those that are more serious, discipline shall follow. We don't believe in pampering the child. For this example, it's just a straw, I'll just explain to the child that for today he will use the yellow straw. If we have a chance next time we go shopping, we'll get him the blue one.

  12. I like your suggestion number 1. To ask the waiter nicely for a yellow straw. This promotes independence and gives them the chance and opportunity to articulate themselves. Hopefully they learn next time that they can ask for things nicely and not throw tantrums around. But then later on, they will also have to learn that they can ask nicely but they still won't get certain things. Hee hee

    Vivien ( Beautiful Chaos )


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