"To be in your children’s memories tomorrow, you have to be in their lives today." -Unknown (www.parenting.com)

Let's talk more about tantrums. Can there really be too much information about this topic? Here are a few things to consider from the physiological angle of behavior in children:

  • 90% of brain development occurs as early as before age 5
  • Full development of the brain occurs by age 25
  • Critical period of life/brain development occurs between age 5 and puberty
  • Last part of brain to develop is the frontal lobe – brain’s top executive functioning
  • “Neurons that fire together wire together.” (Hebb’s axiom)

Source: Psychology Today     

Remember: A child’s brain is like a house under construction.

Let’s get into Dr. Thomas Phelan’s 1-2-3 Magic program. Here are some things to consider, institute techniques and manage parents’ behaviors:

  1. Counting: 1-2-3, then take 5
  2. Kids are NOT little adults
  3. Don’t engage in a power struggle
  4. Be a united front with the other parent
  5. Your authority is non-negotiable
  6. Routine, routine, routine
  7. Time-Outs and Reverse Time-Outs
  8. No spanking (that’s a parental temper tantrum)
  9. Be the master of “quick exit”
  10. Use tantrums/behavioral outbursts as teachable moments

These tenets can be found in Dr. Phelan’s books and on his website. We at Meghan L. Reitz & Assoc. use this program consistently with our young clients and their families. 

Be sure to be a role model, live your own life, let your children love you and work on your relationship with your significant other. Being an effective parent means being a healthy adult. We cannot be successful in navigating a child’s emotions and behaviors if we do not take care of ourselves.

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Meghan Reitz

Meghan Reitz, LCPC, NCC, has worked within the counseling profession for over 17 years. Her therapist experience includes providing individual, couples, family, group, and crisis counseling. She also speaks with companies and groups on mental health and wellness topics. Learn more about Meghan here.