Parents can prevent a power struggle from becoming a tantrum by changing the way they react to their toddlers. It is normal for kids to act-out occasionally, but the way you respond could potentially exacerbate the situation and make matters worse. Try some tips that many daycare providers endorse to prevent power struggles and put the kibosh on tantrums:
Get them on a schedule.
Children do best on a schedule, which eliminates unpredictability and provides a sense of reassurance to toddlers. Whenever possible, engage children with other kids in a supervised setting such as daycare or nursery school, to create a routine that the child will anticipate and expect. Try to keep a regular bedtime, too, as this can prevent crankiness that may result from being overtired.
There is no point in arguing.
When your child begins to escalate and become difficult, decline to engage until your child has calmed down. Teach children that they need to speak respectfully for you to respond and try to meet their needs. This is something that is often reinforced in group settings like play groups or daycare.
Watch how you are responding to your child when they are difficult or cranky. Be sure to take time to avoid reacting when you are irritated or even angry, and remain calm and loving even when your child is trying your last nerve. Don't give in when the child is making impractical demands, but instead offer comfort and a calm, reassuring manner which can help diffuse the situation.
Mean what you say.
Kids will learn pretty quickly if you are one to follow-through with threats of punishment, and if you don't mean what you say, they will learn to ignore you. If you say that you are going to take away a certain toy or cancel an outing, follow through. Give kids the chance to earn back these treats with good behavior and respect toward others.
Typically, toddlers learn the basic social mannerisms in settings like daycare, play groups, or school, but you can nip power struggles in the bud and prevent them from becoming full-blown tantrums with consistency and calmness. The best approach is to speak softly but sternly, and to never allow yourself to become agitated to the point of anger or overreaction to their actions. Implement some of the models used in daycare and schools to address power struggles for control with your toddler, and teach your child the importance of treating you, the parent and their elder, with respect. For more information, contact a daycare like Mountainside School.