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A Decade of Lessons in Parenting


Lesson #9: Don't Fear Tears

Ditto temper tantrums. They're no fun, but they signal you're doing your job. I hate, hate, hate it when my kids flip out. If Thad wants an ice pop before supper and I say no, and he flings himself down on the floor with a screech that could shatter glass, my initial impulse is (I'm ashamed to say) to give in. Unfortunately, kids are born with built-in chump detectors. If tantrums work, why not try them again and again?

So if you cave after five minutes of screaming, your kid will instinctively keep it up for 10 the next time. And 15 the time after that. And so forth. A far better strategy is to tough out a few tantrums-hey, you might even embrace them, since they tell the world (and your furious offspring) that you're the one in charge.