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What Does the Bible Say About How to Handle Temper Tantrums?

Jeremy:
What does the Bible say about how to handle temper tantrums. Is there a verse that could be helpful? And so, I was recently reading a book about temper tantrums. There’s a great book. A lot of you guys have talked about Whole Brain Child, so many cool things in there, just from a scientific perspective. Some things I don’t agree with completely and from a tactical perspective, but I thought it was super helpful. I loved some of the things they said about tantrums, but it really reminded me of this verse. Let me read to you guys, and then I’ll talk a little bit about this. So First Thessalonians 4:14 talks about that you need to treat people differently depending on what stage they’re in. It says, “And we urge you brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive. Encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone.”

I think this should be every parent’s verse for how to handle temper tantrums, because what these things is there’s actually different kinds. And one of the things that they say in this book is there’s two totally different kinds of temper tantrums. And you have to discern which one you’re getting from your child. There’s the first one, which is the emotional overload temper tantrum. This is usually younger kids, where they just literally lose control and you cannot stop them. It’s not pre meditated. They’re not manipulating at all. They literally… they don’t know how to handle the surge of emotions. And so, in this verse it says help the weak right? Encourage the disheartened. Be patient. And so, that’s really important. However, there is a second kind of temper tantrum, which is when it’s intentionally manipulative. If you don’t give me what I want, I’m going to make your life miserable.

And the authors of this book, they said, if you’re getting this kind of temper tantrum, then the answer is never negotiate with a terrorist. They’re basically like, you need to make sure that you’re training your children and you’re not giving in to a manipulative temper tantrum, or it will get worse. And so this goes back to the First Thessalonians 4:14, where he says, “Warn those who are disruptive.” Okay, this is a manipulative tactic. And so you have to discern which is which, and they look very similar sometimes on the surface, but the way that you deal with this is very different. Jeff, I’ve seen you in real time, like really think through and deal with particularly the emotional overload reactions. And I just want you to maybe talk through that one a little bit.

Jeff:
Yeah. I think… because there’s different solutions for each. And if you cross those wires, then you’re usually not doing damage, but just it’s not helpful. Right? If you’re giving an emotional overload answer to a manipulative tantrum or a manipulative answer to an emotional overload tantrum. So yeah, for us, especially, yeah, our kids are still in the age where they’re tired and they’re hungry and then they don’t know what they’re feeling. And then they’re just… I’ve started to learn too like the face difference where I’ve… You, like as a parent, get more and more expert. And I feel like I know which one is the manipulative one and which one’s the emotional overload one now.

But yeah, I do feel like it’s really, really important to try to connect with them really quick and understand them on the emotional overload one, but then redirect. And yeah, Alyssa calls it my super power because she tries it and it doesn’t go as well.

But yeah, there’s something about that, that has saved us so many things. And of course some of them, they just go on and on and you got to just hug them or you got to just let them go upstairs or take them away and just whatever, let it run its course. But if you can nip it in the bud early, there’s something… I don’t know. You have to just know your kid’s currency and your kid’s heart. And just kind of say like, hey, I understand you. I understand you, but do you see this? Or what about this? Or come over here. Or can I ask you a question? I’ve noticed that, like even just asking them a bunch of questions, especially with our middle kid, Cannon, they can’t answer while they’re balling, do you know what I mean?

So like they stop to answer and then that calms them down. Like there’s this different little ways you have to test trying to just get them to emotionally regulate, which is basically what you’re trying to do, without there’s no consequence, there’s no discipline. It’s not one of those. So yeah, it’s super hard to do, but to craft the… Basically what it is, is yeah. Connect and redirect, connect, redirect, or connect and differ is how I think about it. And if you can do that right, it usually helps you immensely.

Jeremy:
Yes.

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