Redirect your children’s temper tantrums with gratitude. It really works!
It’s amazing how entitled my kids can be sometimes. Shocking, really.
Related: The Entitlement Trap Book Review
I’m sure I acted that way as a kid, too, but I’m still surprised every time the entitlement rears its ugly head at my house. Don’t get me wrong, my kids aren’t demanding every new gadget and throwing kicking and screaming temper tantrums whenever I say they can’t have something, but they do act entitled sometimes. And there are even temper tantrums, sometimes, too.
The entitlement shows up in small ways:
- Talking back.
- Not honoring the family rules (especially regarding electronics usage).
- Not cleaning up after themselves.
- Unable to take correction.
- Lack of self-control.
- Feeling sorry for themselves.
- Temper tantrums.
Did I mention the temper tantrums?
I’m mostly talking about one of my children right now—my youngest. She’s the baby, and she’s by far the most strong-willed of my children. Still, the other two have thrown their share of fits, and still occasionally throw them.
I don’t mind my kids telling me how they feel about things, or that they want something, or that they don’t want to have to do something.
I do mind the manner in which they tell me their feelings. If they can do it in a respectful way and not get hyper-emotional about it, we can talk about things and possibly even work something out. But if they cannot do that, all bets are off.
Temper tantrums are unacceptable behavior.
All of the entitlement things I listed before are unacceptable behaviors. And all of them have an easy fix—including the temper tantrums.
When my girls are acting entitled, I turn their thoughts to gratitude instead.
It doesn’t always work quickly, because sometimes they want to be angry (and sometimes they just need a nap or some food in their bellies!) and it’s tough to get them out of it. But I gently try to turn their thoughts and hearts to the things they have, rather than the things they don’t. To count their blessings and remember how wildly blessed they are!
One way I’ve been doing this lately with my youngest is by having her write in a gratitude journal when she is feeling like she has to throw tantrums. When she is completely out of control, I ask her to please go to her room and write down what she is grateful for until she can feel calm again.
It works every single time.
Sometimes she writes a few things, and sometimes she writes a few pages. Every time she does this exercise she comes back downstairs with a happy heart and she is completely over whatever it was she was throwing a fit about.
My kids are now all old enough where they can write what they are grateful for.
If you have younger children who aren’t able to write yet, you can have them draw pictures of the things they feel thankful for or you could try having them list things they are thankful for vocally. I do find that the time alone and the writing/drawing is more effective in defusing a tantrum quickly, though.
Want to try it for your own kids?
I’ve made a couple printables to turn an inexpensive composition notebook into a gratitude journal. I like to buy the kind that have cute patterns on them (like these I made into reading journals) and I thought the black and white polka dot pattern looked perfect with these printables.
You can easily buy the composition notebooks at Walmart or Target. If you want to purchase them online, Amazon has tons of options like this adorable elephant pattern or this colorful striped pattern. If you like the black and white polka dots that I used, you can purchase that here.
I never want all the math stuff inside the front cover, so I made a cute gratitude printable to go there.
You can also print it out just to frame or something, I’m not picky. Any reminder of gratitude is a good reminder for all of us!
If you are on a desktop or laptop computer, enter your email in the form at the bottom of this post.
A zip file containing both printables will then be sent directly to your inbox.
And, if I’m being honest, a gratitude journal helps me to be happier and more calm, too.
I can act pretty entitled sometimes myself. I even throw fits if I’m not careful! Remembering our many blessings can help ALL of us to be happier!
This post is part of my 31 Days to a Happier Home series.
To see all the posts in this series, click here: 31 Days to a Happier Home
Download the Printable
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