What to do when your child reacts badly to not getting what they want?

No child wants to hear "no" when they ask for something and many will respond with a bad attitude. How should you respond to your child when they react badly if they don't get what they want?

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39  Answers

2 0

I have ten children and when they want something and its good for them they get it. And on occasions they want something we cannot afford to buy, I tell them, how about we go to a craft store and see if we can make something similar and even better. Never had a child cry and roll on the floor because of not geting what they want.

18
5 0

Great comment! You're obviously doing something right and a lot of moms could learn something from you.

5 24

Ignore the behavior. However as a Child and Adoloscent therapist, there are many children with different temperments and you have to be careful that your child will not hurt themselves displaying certain behaviors. Remember kids are kids and although they are smarter than most think, they still rationale as a child and not as an adult. Make sure that you are consistent with any consequences you set and by no means, give into the whining.

17
0 1

When my daughter was a toddler, she threw tantrums frequently and I never gave in to them. I read about ignoring the tantrum, which I did all the time after that, and she still did it for some reason. I had to leave a cart full of groceries in the store once. I love your comment on Gabrielle's post above, how every child is different. My son never wanted anything. They are ages 23 and 17 now and I couldn't be more proud of how wonderful they are. It's hard to believe I raised two kid's that are so much better than I ever was!

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16 23

It sounds like that child might be a spoiled brat...
"No" means "No". We don't get everything we want in life and that child "reacting badly" probably has 10 times more than other children all over the world. My kids know that if they ask twice, the answer will NOT change. They also know that if they ask more than that, they will be in trouble with Momma! A child only gets in the habit of throwing fits if parents give into them. They get a payoff. As soon as they know that you mean what you say - the fits will stop.

17
2 20

Wish it were as easy as that. So glad to hear it works for you.

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18 20

every child is different, so reacting badly can mean so many different things! For my daughter i can appeal to her rational side and she straightens out immediately. For my son, nothing works & after quite a bit of parental counseling, we've learned that IGNORING the reaction is the best approach... Again, different for everyone,

14
1 6

As far as material items, I do not actively buy my children anything without something in return. I have a 4 year old and a 6 year old and have implemented a "prize box." Throughout the days, weeks, months, they earn tickets for good behavior, chores, and special acts of kindness towards each other and others. When they reach 5 tickets they are allowed to pick a toy out of the prize box. On the rare occassion that we get fast food, kids meal toys are also added to the prize box.

Temper tantrums still actively happen when there are fights between them over toys, or tv shows. I'm firm and strict with the fighting rules. If it's tv then no one watches it the rest of the day (I rarely turn it on anyway.) If it's a toy it goes in a donation box which gets sent to the thrift store when it's full.

11
2 20

Great ideas!

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10 0

No means No. Say what you mean and mean what you say. If you end up giving in to the child then this behavior will continue. It takes about 285 times for a child to realize that you really mean it. When they do listen or cooperate then give them the positive attention they deserve. Thank them for listening. You also need to have a conversation with the child before you enter the store. You need to set the expectations and let them know what you are going in to get and only get. Be consistent!!! Don't give in and if you make a threat you better be able to follow through. Even the little 18 month old is on to you!

10
5 0

Nancy, I like your comment a lot because you give a number - 285 times. If you start when your child is about 18 mos. old, by the time they are 6 or 7, this is a non issue for you. Another poster, Gabrielle said as much and was attacked by other moms. Firm isn't mean. Even being strict about certain behaviors isn't necessarily being mean and I think way too many moms equate the two incorrectly.

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14 20

We don't often get the kids stuff, in fact, hardly ever. They know that if they get something it is a rare treat and they appreciate it . They don't ask much. The youngest does sometimes but handles "no" pretty well. So I guess my advice is not to just buy kids stuff on a whim. It is not necessary.

8
0 2

I agree, the more you keep the presents to special occasions the better. You start getting into the habit of buying on a whim and they expect it.

0 0

just have to say to parents whose children count back to them, or refuse to stay in room, or trash room once they are in there, that they have serious discipline problems. The child is in charge, and actually quite frightened about that. There are no real boundaries. Think the parents need to go for parenting classes to find a system of parenting that will allow them to take their role back as parents. As a mother of 10 and the child of a mother who greatly enjoyed her role as mother, disciplining with love and creativity whenever we needed it, I found such books as Dr. Dobson's "Dare to Discipline" and my mother's favorite "Children the Challenge" to be v helpful. My children are grown now, from 23 to 41, and I have to say that I never lost control of my children, at whatever age. They also "behaved" through college, not drinking to excess or drugging, attending church services, and making healthy choices for friends/boyfriends. I dont say this to boast. Alot of prayer, phone calls to friends, and willingness to look for new strategies went in to this situation. Many of my friends who also did the same thing have children who have gone on to be good, responsible adults.
That said, most children will outgrow all these obnoxious habits once they are in school. But that doesn't mean the problems are over. If the child has never really learned to submit to legitimate authority, he or she will have problems his or her whole life. Addictions, chronic lying, a sense of entitlement, excess anger, relationship problems, alienation from God...all these can come from a family where the relationship between parent and child is not established and consistently maintained.
Someday I want to write a book called "Do You Know You Are In CHARGE??" using anecdotes of my childhood and that of my children's to illustrate how to creatively parent. Seldom do we have to say"No!" or "Do it because I said so!!" It becomes fun to set up a learning situation to train each child. As example, if my children are interrupting me constantly on the phone and we have gotten into a "game" of me explaining nicely, then increasingly fiercely that "Mommy's on the phone, dear, so please don't interrupt"...Then I "set up" a training program. I explain the consequences of interrupting before a "phone call", which is either a friend who understands what I am doing today, or a fake phone call to myself. Then, after the first interruption, I calmly hang up, and administer whatever the punishment was. There were days when I had 4 or 5 kids sitting on every other stair on the way upstairs, while the rest of us had a treat or read a book in the other room.
Quite fun actually and very effective. I always wanted to take a picture, but felt that was taking advantage of them, so I didn't...
There's lots of tricks to the trade, some my Mom's, some mine, and some friends' of mine. A friend Cathy Duckett had her eyerolling, door slamming teenage girls repeat said gesture ("Nice dear, now roll to the left, now roll to the right, five more times or you are grounded" or "Whoops, that door just got away from you, think you need to practice...Ten times closing that door gently or you are grounded")
what fun!! And guess whose in charge, grinning away, ME!

5
1 0

If the child is old enough, I'd explain why. I have a 15 month old daughter and even though she doesn't understand everything yet, I still explain to her. I don't believe that say "because I say so." is a good, valid answer

5
0 0

Stay calm and stand your ground. Sometimes you gotta say no.

4
42 2

I always follow a procedure which is : 1- I Say No and explain why. 2- I ask them to behave and stop acting silly. 3- They continue misbehaving and I tell them the consequences and start counting to 3. 4- they stop.
This method always works for me. My kids know the proccess and the result. So the answer is CONSISTENCY.

4
0 13

I've tried this, my daughter just starts counting back at me. Very frustrating!

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1 0

Change the situation! Make them to be interested in something else. And after at some point have a talk about it (about good and bad behavior, about how it made you/them feel, about the children around the world or around the corner who are less fortunate). It comes with a practice! But children do respond to this. :)

3
0 1

I think I recognize you. Are you a Montessori teacher? I remember a well managed classroom.

11 0

When my kids start asking for the same thing over and over I take the advise of their pre-school teacher. I look them in the face and calmly say "Ask me again. What do you think I will say?" They know this means I have made up my mind and I have told them no for a reason. They stop asking.

3
0 0

Sometimes you can avoid saying "no" by giving an alternative such as, "It is not time to play games on the Ipad right now, but you can play as soon as you get up tomorrow morning." If the child cannot be appeased, I find ignoring her often works. Often our youngest daughter will try to refuse to turn off the television and come to the dinner table when we tell her it's time. My husband will disconnect the satellite and she'll sit and scream and cry and say she doesn't want to eat dinner. The rest of the family sits down and starts eating and eventually she usually calms down and joins us.

http://talesofa30somethingnothing2010.blogspot.ca/

2
0 2

I leave right away if it looks like it might escalate. I say "ok, we are leaving" and no matter what we are in the middle of I leave, I don't say anything else they already know why. Now my daughter is 6 and if I say "do we need to leave", she usually gets herself back under control. The hard part is usually I need to get an item and I feel punished if I cannot run the errands I need to run but she has learned that we will just go to time-out at home with a lecture on how to behave in public.

2
0 0

This is how we do it too. But the only thing is that if u SAY u r going to leave then u HAVE to leave!! So don't use ANY threat that u can't follow through with. If u truly can't leave where u r (ie. meeting, play, etc) then don't say u will.

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2 0

It should be noted that children are little people and what may work for one may not work for all, I have 2 sons and their personalities are like night and day. My first son didn't do much tantrums but the second one gave me and every now and then still tries (he's now 5) whatever methods you use and everyone has good ideas most important STAND YOUR GROUND!!! NO MEANS NO!!!! and follow through on punishment don't threaten and then soften up, this empowers the child into thinking he (or she) is in charge. Let them know when behavior is inappropriate and that there is NO TOLERANCE for certain things. It may be hard the first few times but they will get the picture and you will see results BE CONSISTENT

1
0 27

My kids are almost 4 and almost 3 so right now. The tantrums were in full swing until i spent the last 2 weeks with my brother Jacques. He has a doctorate in human behavior and his PHD in criminal behavior. (Very smart man) He also has 10 years of military service under his belt. I wont lie I am the caregiver of my kids. My husband works for the Air Force and sees them when he can and I'm the lover who just wants them happy. I did tend to give into the tantrums when in public just so there wouldn't be a seen. Well shortly after we got to my brothers house we did a food run so we could make a nice roast and my almost 4 year old was pitching a fit over wanting a barbie movie that i just didn't have the money for. I was like honey maybe we'll get it next week lets get some M&Ms instead. My brother bopped me in the back of the head. Reminding me that we DO NOT reward bad behavior. So i tried to ignor the tantrum that was getting bigger. Another Bop. Again he reminded me that you can't just ignor the problem and that you must confront it. I'm not a very scary momma and even when punishing i call her sweetie. So my advise to any parent is this. DO NOT ignor the problem behavior. Confront it. Let your child know that you are not happy with the way they are acting. Even when out and about remember that you can still punish your child. Yes it may make you feel like a heel but even Wal-Mart has corners your child can stand in with thier hands behind the back. Also when your child is in trouble Do Not call them by thier nick Names. Using thier given name helps the child know that you mean business.

1
0 6

Do not give in ..ignore , distract , but do not give in.....it will just be a slippery slope ....negotiate & reasoning help may help ,but not too much !. Bribery & blackmail are useful ...most of all, a sence of humour (may be difficult to find ! ) But DO Not give in !!

1
0 0

Ignore,ignore,ignore
or do what they are doing roll o the floor with,pretend to cry as well they wont know how to react but think u ate playing

1
0 13

I found a reward chart at Kmart. I had no idea what i'd use it for but it was less than $5 and included the chart, which was a whiteboard with space for goals and little stickers.

At first, I put things like make the bed and tidy bedroom on the goals, but my mum pointed out that my daughter does these things when i ask. She suggested thinking more of behaviours because my daughter does throw a massive tantrum and doesn't always do what I ask her too. (no she doesn't get her own way at the end of this, she often ends up in "time out" being told to calm down and use her words).

So I changed the goals to: eat dinner (without complaining), do as your mummy says (without complaining), go to bed (and try your hardest - without screaming) and be polite. note: my daughter is next to me and said "follow the instructions" hehehe. There was space for more goals, but too many would be confusing and impossible.

There is a space for a little sticker (a sheet of stickers came with the chart) for each goal and each day of the week. I decided to give a reward at the end of the week if she received 20 stickers. I told her it would be a surprise (more so that I could do something nice like take her to the movies, or just get her something little if funds are low)

This worked very very well! better than i expected. she was nearby when i was showing my brother and kept adding "without complaining" or "straight away" while i was talking about the goals.

I kept up with positive specific praise throughout the week: "I like how you did what your mummy said without complaining" "good girl for getting comfy and trying your hardest to stay still in bed"

1
0 0

What I do with my little 20 month granddaughter is let her tantrum. I watch from the corner of my eye & when I see she starts to bit the top of her hand, I take her hand away and let her continue. She stops, end of it. Now when we r in a restaurant and she starts, we leave. We don't want to upset others! Also, we r no refraining fr going to restaurants with her for a while :)

1
9 0

React as if the tantrum is not happening.... no screaming or yelling back at the child. I have found with my almost 3yrs old grandson that if I get down to his eye level and hold my arms out in a cuddle position for him to find comfort in, whilst talking softly to him, the tantrum abates rather quickly. When at home i normally start by asking him which nursery rhyme he would like us to sing and that distracts him from whatever caused his upset in the first place and calms him down.

1
1 0

Give a very rational reason why you have said a "NO" and keep some patience ..........be firm and then ignore all tantrums.

1
1,345 7

I tell her she might as well just stop because crying and screaming will never get her what she wants.

1
0 1

I had the same rule about whining and begging. The answer will always be no. Because it was a pet pieve it was easy to be consistent.

9 1

well my daughter is the same as the other Melissa's - you talk to her and explain the situation (usually that involves me telling her that you can't always get what you want and we talk about the price of the item - or I suggest that she does chores and comes back later with her own money) and usually after a small frowning session she's over it and on to the next thing

1
108 76

Remind the child that throwing a fit is not how you get something. Then ignore everything that comes after that. It may require leaving the store, which I have done on many occasions. I have left full grocery karts in the middle of an isle, and picked up a screaming child and walked out. Under no circumstances do you give in. At a later time, when both you and the child have calmed down talk about what happened, and how it can never happen again. Ask the child if acting out got them what they wanted. Then let them know the appropriate way to ask for something. This is also a good time to talk about just because you want something doesn't mean that you will automatically get it. Give then options for earning things. My son started getting allowance for his chores, which he uses to buy the things that he wants. I also reward positive report cards with items that he says he would like. Summer reading earns my son extra cash and treats when he reads beyond his goal.
It may take you having to leave a store a few times for your child to understand that you mean what you say. Be consistent. Once they understand you mean it, they will stop trying to push the boundary.
One more tip, before you go into a store talk with your child about what things you are there to get. if you have a list, have your child hold it and be responsible for helping find the items. If they start to talk about wanting something say, " I don't remember that being on the list. We are only here to buy the things on our list." I have found this really helpful with the 4 year old I nanny for.

0
0 15

I just ignore the behavior, anyway they will just stop crying. You have to be consistent in saying "NO". This is one way of disciplining your child.

0
0 0

I will make her see reasons why she can not get a yes answer and I will insist on my decision

0
0 1

How long do these discussions or arguments last? The child will feel some control over annoying you with a long discussion. Again, ignoring and No means No has a time and place.

0 0

Under no circumstances should you give in. That will set you up for worse behavior the next time.
Give them a time out if they are relentless and do not reward in any way. As children get older they can get louder, mouthier, and more physical. They have to learn that no means no from the beginning. I agree...this is VERY hard to do.
Mother of Five and Grandmother of 15

0
0 11

It's very scary to look at a few of these answers and think wow what narrow minded people. My son has been through a emotional roller coaster with a father that didn't have his act together and his new wife that turned to the drink. I am the full time parent that had to sit and watch while my little man begged me to let him stay with me and the courts did nothing. And we've had multiple infraction with my son. I'm very consistent with him. I never make promises I can't keep, I don't fib to him, I say what I mean and mean what I say. But yet my son sometimes cant rationalize with the answer no matter how simple. And that's okay. Cause he is still learning. He still with get disciplined for his bad behavior and rewarded for his good behavior. My little man is a loving and sweet egar to please type of kind and then snap he isn't getting his way and boom the explosion happens. And it's because his little mind can't yet rationalize it. (he still gets into trouble) but the process of getting it may take longer or shorter time frame for it to finally click. Every child is different and may have there own best way to be disciplined, unfortunately some of us may have not found it. Stay consistent, mean what you say and say what you mean. An try new ways to discipline until you find one that help it click. My 6 yr old has to get a seat on The butt before stopping, my 3 yr old get it after putting his nose on the wall. Every child is unique find what will bother them the most and use it lol. Good luck and be open minded. Not everyone's idea of how to discipline will work. But it may give you other ideas to try.

0
0 0

I recommed "Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Child" by Robert J MacKenzie, Ed.D. Establishing firm, clear, boundaries has helped us tenfold. Our daughter is prone to tantrums and outbursts, we do say no and she understands no, but she definitely voices her displeasure. Validating is important so she feels heard, and natural consequences work well, as do time outs or thinking time. Part of it is her personality and the other is us learning how not to engage in the dance = verbal sparring. Great book for parents who have tenacious little ones!
Tamela

0
0 3

My 2 year old son throw at least 3 bad tandtrum a day, he screams and throws stuff or even take it out on his 9 year old sister. For eg we went to have something to eat out and because the icecream machine was broke he started pinching her and hitting her, I have tryed loads of different ways to deal with them but eventually he gets used to it and starts again for eg I put him straight to bed each time he tandtrums but. Now I say bed he gets his soother and wants to go and when I do he goes sleep then dosent sleep at nite, my heath visiter has been helping but nothing seems to be helping x

0
0 0

Everytime we are out, shopping, I tell my children WHAT we are going to buy. If it is grocery, they are allowed to make suggestions. Same's the case with THEIR stuff too...they are allowed to tell us what they would like to have. Then, it is up to me to tell them whether (1) I will buy it or not. In case I am not in favour of buying what they want, I make it a point to explain why: it could be too expensive or a sheer waste of money in terms of what they would get out of it.
Most times, they listen to reason. However,on the rare occasion that they have grumbled and complained, I have let them be. They have eventually come round :)

0
0 0

My first instinct is to say no and more often than not it sticks. She just cries it out, if we are in public I take her to the car till she stops. But there are times we'll compromise telling her "I'll think about but" she'll have to behave, listen, clean her toys or something like that. That way she also learns that in order to get something there are times where you have to work for it

0
0 3

Goodness that's what I'd like to KNOW my girls (5 and 3) they shout,cry,stamp their feet, basically throw a major tamtrum when refused something! Its frustrating and embarassing. Ill be eagerly waiting for the perfect way to deal with it, because a time-out and stern looks don't work anymore.

0
0 0

Make them know that such a behaviour woudn't make them get what they want and explain to them why we refused to give what they want,like we said if we we don't have enough money yet or we are afraid if it will be harmfull for them etc.if they stay in such behaviour,then we ignored them as long they wouldn't hurt themself or they siblings or friends....and sometimes time out could be useful

0
3 20

After haviing an uncle who gave in to everything she wanted, it's hard for my daughter to understand that no means no, at times. I've learned that different tactics work at different times. For example, if it's about dolls or toys, I tell her no, then tell her why. If she persists, I ignore her grumblings, Not always easy to do, trust me. If she's throwing a major snit fit, I put her in a corner until she's ready to talk calmly. Or I send her to her room. It gives me time to collect my thoughts and calm down too.

0
3 20

Sometimes, she lets it go at no. Not often though.

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3 4

When I tell mine no they just pout. Thats all they do. When we are out at a store and are told no they still just pout. When we are at home they run/walk to their room throw themselves on the bed and cry/pout for a little bit until me or my husband come and talk to them about why they were told no.

0
9 16

I do not know and would love some great input! My 5 year old, well he will b 6 in Nov., behavior lately is getting out of had and need help. The biggest problem is being defiant when asked to do something and telling me no or i don't have to when I ask him to do the simplest things. I have tried incentive charts, behavior charts, and him helping me make up charts for behavioral issues with his help with coming up with consequences. They r not working so help me please!

0
9 16

My ne is Heidi Hartman

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