Parenting Nightmares

By Tara Cardoso - bio | email

JUPITER, FL (WFLX) - The tough economy is taking a toll on even the youngest generation. Experts say the family unit is suffering right now, and that could have a lasting affect for generations to come.

When children throw tantrums, it makes anyone want to hit the mute button. You could give in, do anything to get them to stop. But if you think bad habits are hard to break now, consider this, a 2-year-old tantrum is a lot more manageable than a 15- or 16-year-old tantrum.

But with more households where both parents are working to make ends meet, that means less time with the kids.

Just ask Ericka Wells, a mother of a 2-year-old boy and 6-year-old girl. "It's so hard to have limited time with them," said Wells. "You don't want to make it a negative situation."

So Ericka learned to use the techniques.

Child, Adolescent & Family Psychotherapist Nicole Bagge LMHC recommends giving your kids control over some things. For example, "Do you want to brush your teeth or put your PJ's on first? Let them decide. Both are getting done."

Spend one-on-one, quality time with the kids getting on their level. The big one, however, is be consistent with discipline. "You can see the difference. I say you're going to get a time out. He stops and thinks about it. Sometimes, he still does it, but sometimes he doesn't do it."

Nicole says parents need to learn how to control their children's behavior before the age of 4 or they will face big problems later -- problems that spill out into our society as a whole. "When they are adults, they have to follow rules, structure, limits. If they don't teach them that when they're younger, then, they feel like they don't have to follow the rules, obey authority."

It may sound basic, but parents are worn out these days and are too tired or too stressed about money to discipline. The bigger the tantrum is the more likely the parent is to give in.

"Never give in. It just gets worse; kids are really smart. They play you until they get what they want," said Nicole.

Nicole also says she's seeing more parents buying their kids material things to replace the time they cannot spend with them. She says that's the wrong message to send. She suggested, "Read a book, get on the floor, play in dirt, blow bubbles. Kids eat that up, and that's what they really want from their parents. When children get bored, they look for excitement elsewhere. That's why family should be a priority."

Ericka tell us she learned from the mistakes she made with her first. "I've noticed things I let go for years or longer than I should have."

She's stricter with her second knowing not disciplining them now will mean out of control kids later.

Here are more parenting tips from Nicole Bagge LMHC:

1.) "Like" Your Family
2.) Put your relationship with your husband first
3.) Eat Together
4.) Ask your child about their day
5.) Make your family a priority
6.) Play
7.) Cut back on extracurricular activities
8.) Create family traditions
9.) Inside jokes
10.) Make your children and your husband your "Helper"!
11.) Don't yell
12.) Don't fight in front of children.  If you do, let them see you make up, apologize and tell your children that everything is ok! (Full Circle)
13.) Be consistent
14.) Be flexible
15) Remember YOU know your children and husband are your priorities, so make them KNOW!

"Preventing Tantrums"

 1.) Reward for positive behaviors- "Catch them being GOOD!!!!"
 2.) Give choices (control)
 3.) Distraction
 4.) Change of scene
 5.) Choose your battles- Win-Win
 6.) Increase your patience- Evaluate how many times you are saying "NO"
 7.) Establish routines/ schedules
 8.) Give warnings for transition times

"Strategies for Tantrums"
 1.) REMAIN CALM if you get upset, the tantrum will certainly escalate
 2.) Count to 10 and think about why your child is tantruming (hungry, tired, bored, diaper change?)
 3.) Ignore- if they are in a safe place- let them have their tantrum
 4.) If they're going to hurt themselves- hold them and reassure them.
 5.) If in public- you may have to leave
 6.) Talk to them when they calm down.  A child who is throwing a tantrum is incapable of communicating or understanding anything- you must wait because you can't reason with them.
****** NEVER NEVER give into a tantrum!

Nicole Bagge can be reached at 561-254-7226. Her office is located at 641 University Boulevard Suite206 in Jupiter, Florida.