temper tantrumIf anything is a test of patience and grace under fire in this world, it's a toddler temper tantrum. As adorable as our little ones are, it can be a bit grating to witness and deal with one tantrum after the other during the course of a single day. But there are things we should do during tantrums, and things we definitely shouldn't.

Every family obviously has their own way of handling temper tantrums, but here are 6 things I've found to be a bad idea during the throes (or aftermath) of a toddler temper tantrum.

1. Don't walk away. I know there are some schools of thought that say walking away from your toddler while they're flailing about on the floor is the way to go to show your little one that you're not having it. But other philosophies say not to leave your toddler when they're acting a fool -- and I happen to agree. You don't want your kid to feel abandoned when they're upset, regardless of how irrational they're being. Try simply standing by them calmly when they freak out for bit.

2. Don't make fun of them or imitate them. Yes, tantrums can be funny -- especially when the reason behind it is incredibly trivial. But how would you feel if you were genuinely upset over something and people stood around making fun of you?

3. Don't take it personally. Frequent temper tantrums are a part of most toddlers' lives. It isn't anything you're doing "wrong." Your baby is likely just striving for independence. And just because your toddler has more tantrums than your friend's doesn't make you a worse mom. You're awesome!

4. Don't lose control. There's already one of you out of control, remember? Not only is lashing out at your child not cool, it definitely won't help. Sure, it can be unnerving to have your toddler blow a gasket at the supermarket, but you're not the first parent this has happened to. If your little one is inconsolable, try taking them to the bathroom or outside to let them get their freak out on in a less public place.

5. Don't reward them afterward. I know it can be super easy to say, "Okay, okay, okay, you want a cookie?" during a tantrum, but don't. It might be a quick, in-the-moment fix, but you don't want your child to think that every time he wants something, all he has to do is throw himself on the floor and scream.

6. Don't punish them. Toddlers are all emotion. This is one of their ways of communicating (they don't have many words, remember?), so they shouldn't be made to feel "bad" if they lose their cool. Yes, the goal is to have tantrums be an uncommon occurrence, but the older they get, the less they'll make an appearance.

How do you deal with your toddler's tantrums?

 

Image via Bernd Vogel/Corbis