Good morning, Five Minute Families. Thank you for joining us this morning as we conclude this short two-part devotional on temper tantrums. Last week we discussed where tantrums might be coming from, for family members of all ages, as well as how to get through the tantrum itself. Today, we want to discuss life after the tantrum.
Galatians 6:1 reminds us that if anyone has done something wrong, we are to gently help them get back on the right path - annnnd - that we must avoid behaving in the same way ourselves. We must point out to our loved one that we are willing to have this extremely uncomfortable conversation because we care for them and want future times together to go more smoothly.
Also, remember that in Matthew 18:15 and 16 we are to first discuss the matter directly one-on-one, but if that does not help, we may need to involve more family members in the conversation. Now, this chapter of scripture does go on to say that if that doesn’t clear up the matter, then go to church leadership. The temper tantrums we are addressing, which we well-defined in part one, might not necessarily be a church matter, but the advice is still the most solid as far as one-on-one, small family discussion, and then, if these tantrums do become part of a bigger sin issue, going to your church’s pastor or mentoring program would be a very good step.
Likewise, parents, realize that if you are the one who threw the tantrum, your child may not have thought through their address of your temper tantrum. They will not fully understand it or deal with it as an adult would, but do not forget Paul’s encouragement to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12 and Titus 2:15. No one is to be despised or dismissed because of their youth. If the Holy Spirit uses your child’s words or cries to convict you of your wrong, accept it.
So, let’s get to the South African College of Applied Psychology’s five points to help us navigate life after a temper tantrum, especially after an adult tantrum.
1. Point out that while they are allowed to feel angry or frustrated how they expressed their feelings was not appropriate or appreciated
2. Ask them why they responded in the way that they did
3. Find out how they would feel if your roles were reversed
4. Ask them what they would do if you behaved like they did
5. Ask them what they think can be done in future to curtail a similar outburst
As we often say, communication is key to solving problems. Listening is so quickly dismissed from the communication process when our emotions are high, so we must listen to one another, and that means letting the family member who had the tantrum speak clearly about their thoughts, feelings, and musings. AFTER LISTENING, be reminded of Ephesians 4:29, and do not respond in a negative way but choose your words wisely to help rebuild the relationship. Showing understanding and compassion validates your loved one’s feelings, even if you do not agree with them.
Setting boundaries and sharing your expectations can help to teach your loved one, especially the kiddos, responsibility. Many news stories abound today about two people who did not seem capable of controlling themselves and giving in temper tantrums resulting in divorce, custody issues, court case, and more. In some situations, it comes back to narcissism or manipulation, but in others, it is that a person has never heard how fully negative their temper tantrum is affecting their loved ones. I know it sounds crazy, but there are people who just aren’t impacted as much by a tantrum, and they see it as “blowing off steam” or just being dramatic. But, in a family we must clearly communicate how another person’s behavior impacts us.
Briefly, let’s address that some people are afraid of the emotions they are capable of, and instead of a meltdown or outburst, they will shut down. The silent treatment is often what follows. Neither a tantrum nor the extreme of shutting down is good. And, both can be addressed in the same steps we previously mentioned.
It is embarrassing for the tantrum thrower who isn’t using the tantrum to control of manipulate, on purpose, at least. In our current culture it has become common place to record others at their worst moments, but that is not loving others as yourself. Even a train wreck of a tantrum can be an opportunity to love, console, communicate and grow from the experience.
We are Jim and Kim Nestle with Clear View Retreat. If you want to learn more about the communication process and God’s plan for families, please check us out at clearviewretreat.org and book your Family Camp or marriage retreat today. Be blessed!