Tell Your Inner Tantrum to Hush

Tantrums are all around us.

If you have ever worked in a customer service position, you know that a good bit of your job is dealing with temper tantrums.  Intelligent people coming up to the counter with a clothing item with one thread poking out demanding a discount... Lawd Jesus.  Yes, I have literally seen this with my own eyes.

As parents, we get to see tantrums appear out of a pea touching a carrot on a plate... a hair out of place on a ponytail... and really any time the word "no" is used.

It's so easy to look outward though, at the tantrums of others... but have you looked inward lately?  I have and whoa!  I have tantrums all day long.

For example, try intermittent fasting. Planning to have meals between 12pm - 8pm... By 8:30am - tantrum.  Instead of accepting the no by "deep breathing" or by "going to a walk" or by "pounding on a pillow", you go get a bowl of cereal.  Fail.  That is a tantrum.  

"No" is hard!

What about cleaning up after others and voila,"tantrum!"  

What about a day where you are just exhausted and decide that you will not pick up after others and you look around the house and, well, "tantrum!"  And heaven forbid the disaster that takes over your home if you get sick. That is always accompanied by a tantrum.

And what about those days, you are walking to the mailbox, and you are just having a tantrum.  For no apparent reason.

What about those days you are going grocery shopping and you walk around with a dark stormy cloud over your head?

What about that intense unfulfilled need - the need to be cool, or rich, or successful, or important, or smart, or whatever it is for you that keeps you up a night, not present with your kids, not present with the goodness in your reality? That persistent screaming little kid in you wants something and if you don't have it, well... tantrum.

I would like to propose something. When you realize you are having a tantrum...

Tell yourself to hush, and I don't mean like a southern granny who would shoo you out of the kitchen if she caught stealing biscuits before dinner. 

(it's ok, I can say that. I am from the South)... Talking to yourself that way ain't gonna work for ya.  My kiddo is the perfect example. If I ever yell at my kid like that, her inner lioness comes out for the kill.  Her fight or flight response is definitely to fight, lol.  

I remember when she was a baby on the changing table, someone said to start young and pop her on the hind flank if she ever misbehaved.  This way she would learn obedience...

I did that one time, and she reared her hand and smacked me so hard, I was pretty sure something was broken.  I kid you not.  I wished I'd somehow caught it on tape.  It's like I gave birth to Hulk.

My child is powerful.  One of the many things I love about her:). For real.  I am glad she has this spirit.  It is serving her well now that she is older.

However, if I attack, she will attack... Human. Nature.

Back to telling yourself hush.  I also don't mean to sing to yourself, "hush little baby, don't say a word, mamma's gonna buy you a mockingbird..."

I mean. 

Notice when you are having a tantrum.  That moment of notice is your hush moment.  That is an opening to a new choice.

Then, you have two directions.  To move towards love or away from love. Decide which choice moves you towards love...

Towards love choices for yourself to help yourself through your own tantrums might be:

  • taking care of yourself by eating responsibly
  • reminding yourself you are more than being cool, successful, being important, or smart 
  • choosing acceptance rather than judgement
  • breathe...  
  • turn your attention to things that you love and keep pulling it there 
  • go for a run

Towards love choices to help your kiddos through tantrums:


  • No you can't have a candy bar, I love you. I want your to be healthy because when you are healthy your body does not feel sick.
  • I know you have a great idea about to do with your birthday money, but it is time for bed.  You need to sleep because if you don't you will be grumpy tomorrow. Your great idea will be great tomorrow. But, for now, it is time to sleep. (Rinse and repeat)
  • Hitting people is not ok, go to your room because you need to calm down.  You are welcome to pound your pillow!


  • When an insult is hurled, say, "that not's a nice way to talk with [mommy]", and then ignore if it continues.  Walk away if you need to.
  • Prepare ahead.  When they are in a good mood, talk about healthy ways to get anger out.  Get an "anger pillow" and mini bat for their room and when they need it, let them go in their room and go at it.  Or, have them pick.  Maybe they like coloring.  Maybe they like playing the piano (Get a keyboard for their room!)...
  • Learn the Emotional Freedom Technique and use it in your family... before a tantrum so kids can get used to the tools.
  • Teach your children about choice.  
  • Get grounded.  And remain grounded in the face of the storm.  If one person is grounded, it can help the other person calm down.

Towards love choices to help others through their tantrums:

  • Use diversion, specifically, use diversion to sooth them.  Remind them that they are wonderful.  This can snap someone out of their head and remind them of their goodness. On, a beautiful article, How to Achieve Harmony in Any Situation demonstrates this beautifully.
To sum up the article, a mother of a misbehaving child in a grocery store is at her wits in and is being aggressive verbally and then slightly physically with the child.  A lady watching intervenes. She compliments the beautiful child to the mom... praises the child... and acknowledges the moms response about being worn out saying "yes, kids can do that.  They are so full of energy." The child calmed down and the mom reconnected with the child and having a loving moment.
Beautiful, right!?!
  • Another option is one that most people avoid. 
    • Remind them of how powerful and special they are. Let them know that you can tell this is an important thing they need to work through and that you believe they can do it, if they choose to.  Then.  Set up a boundary. 
      • Either, just listen without giving any responses or opinions other than repeating the above. 
      • Or, let them know that if they continue, that you will walk away.

BOOM. I said it.  You have a choice in how people treat you.

People usually become a dumping ground for tantrums because they have been taught that shows love. And before I continue, I want to point out something.  There are blurred lines of understanding between noticing when someone is sad and being with them and when someone is tantruming and being with them.  Because we have a hard time distinguishing, we think in both situations, we show love by letting all of that energy flow from that person to ourselves.  Often, when it comes to tantrums, it is like a person holding a lit fuse hands the other person lit fuse.  Not so helpful for either person, is it?

And to close, happiness is a choice.  I watched this TEDx youtube video yesterday, amazed at this man's incredible ability to choose love... something that he has had a chance to practice A LOT.

Sometimes when having tantrums, remembering that others have been through terrible things and have come out on the other end of grace can help us put things into perspective.

This TEDx Talk, The happiest man on earth: 99 year old Holocaust survivor shares his story. 



Lulu's Mom







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