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February 7th, 2012

How to avoid tantrums

While I was still pregnant with my son, I remember witnessing a terrible tantrum in my local Co-op where a little girl was shouting the place down and demanding chocolate.  Her poor mother was mortified and quickly bought her a chocolate bar to calm her down.  Shocked at this behaviour, I swore that my own son would NEVER behave like that.

Four years later, despite my best efforts, my son does throw tantrums occasionally if he is hungry or tired (or usually both).

I was therefore very interested to read this article in the Wall Street Journal (or similar article here) about the ‘French’ secrets for avoiding tantrums:  teaching patience, saying ‘no’ with authority and making it clear who is the boss.

While the article on a whole is a big generalisation (I’m sure there are good and bad parents in France), there is no doubt that different countries have very different parenting styles, and it made me step back and think about my own.

What do you think – do you think the ‘French’ approach to parenting is better?  Is the article even true?

Image by mdanys


  1. Vicki says:

    I believe that a child who receives treats for misbehaving is only doing so because they associate bad behaviour with sweets.
    My 2 girls have been aware of bad behaviours since they were young and I have always ensured they know what their behaviour should be by teaching them rights and wrongs as they have grown up.
    A stern no and a process for punishment of bad behaviour most definitely will have a positive impact on any child’s behaviour.
    I would guess the difference in behaviours is due to the large difference in cultures between any 2 countries.
    This is however just my experience and opinion!

  2. Rosanele says:

    I have no clue what ‘French’ parenting is considering my household is half-French, half-Filipino and I have a French niece who is the same age as my daughter so I can compare parenting styles.

    In our household, our daughter has been raised to be patient, to ask for things politely (please, etc) and she gets an explanation when the answer to her request is a ‘no’. I only noticed extreme tantrums after my daughter has been introduced to other children’s habits in school. This includes lying on the floor, going under the table and having the saddest girl pout which I am sure every 4-year old girl has mastered. When I get any of these, I want to tear my hair out but instead, my husband or I will firmly tell my daughter that she needs to have quiet time. None of those tantrums would be rewarded by a parent giving in for sure. I always trust that my daughter would calm down and after she has cooled off, we look at the situation again, I reinforce the learning and my daughter concedes. I don’t think a simple ‘No!’ is sufficient. Children also deserve an explanation that they can learn from.

    Thankfully, tantrums are milestones apart. I’ve seen it from a 2-year old, from a 3-year old and now with a 4-year old. I have to remember that at each step, my child is testing and learning something new and I owe it to her as a parent to be patient and understanding of how these tantrums come about, help her break down the issue until we get the best solution.

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