Positive Behavior Strategies To Deal With Emotional Outbursts
by Ashley Lengyel
On 09 January, 2023
Dealing with emotional outbursts/tantrums/meltdowns is experienced with most parents at some point in time. It can be frustrating or embarrassing especially in public settings. Whether you are the parent of a neurotypical child or not, experienced parents or not, dealing with emotional issues comes with the territory. However, parents of children with ASD must be very vigilant in these matters as the diagnosis & severity impacts the moods, feelings & thoughts of a child.
Reasons for emotional outbursts/tantrums:
Physical health issues, illnesses or being unwell
Change in routine
Sensory overload in certain situations
Inability to convey point of view on any subject
Self belief that they are not able to meet expectations of others
Here are some Positive Behavior Strategies to deal with emotional outbursts:
Recognize the triggers – In order to solve any problem, its essential to get to the root of it. Find out the reason for the outburst/tantrum. Once the cause(s) is known, responses are measured and relevant.
Reinforce positive behavior – Reward the child for demonstrating positive behavior/acts. Rewards can be preferred edible treats/activities/toys.
Teach skills to deal with these situations – Teach them skills with the help of professionals on impulse control, problem solving, communication and knowing the difference between what is right/wrong in different situations.
Be aware of signs of distress – The recognised signs of distress is your opportunity to step in and diffuse the situation. The signs could be self-stimulatory behaviors, facial discomfort, putting their hands over the ears or run away.
Strategies to minimize stress – These include visual schedules, social stories, check-off lists, and activity or task schedules. Preparing the child with a new experience/activity/task takes times. These strategies help.
Schedule downtime between tasks/activities. These moments of calm/silence help the child to center themselves and prepare for what’s to come.
Remove the child from the location of the stress to a quiet & safe space.
For the parent, practicing mindfulness/ breathing exercises/yoga helps to deal with emotional outbursts in a calmer & calibrated manner.
Pro-active steps and strategies are crucial allies in dealing with any emotional outbursts or tantrums. Prepare your child for success with these above positive behavior strategies.