Very similar to @CMF, different approaches for different kids, no set 'programs', just trial and error.
Dd1 is and always has been a full on kid. Her biggest issue was/is that she constantly needa to be stimulated- boredom is a huge behaviour trigger for her. Unfortunately I cant always provide the stimulation she needs, and add to that her monthly mood swings, there are some epic tantrums happening. The approach I found works with her is send her to her room. This is her 'safe space'. She is free to scream, cry, throw things etc. I explain its not because she is being naughty, its just a space she can go to let her emotions out and once she is calm she is free to come out again. Sometimes she can be in there for hours because she has been distracted by reading or drawing. And now a lot of the time when she is feeling overwhelmed she takes herself off to her room.
Dd2 is and always has been much more placid- you just have to look at her and she stops. But sometimes it gets the better of her. In these situations she either marches off to her room (copying dd1), or I ask if she wants a cuddle. And thats usually enough to difuse the tantrum.
Dd3 is whole new personality entirely. She is a lot more firey than the other 2, and ive had to use a whole new approach again. She is more physical than the others- she will still scream but also throw herself around, bite/hit/headbutt anyone who is near her. The best approach for her is simply ignore her when she starts throwing a tantrum. She doesnt get the attention she wants so gives up. If she gets to the point of hurting others, I put her in her room or remove her from the situation of we are out (although generally when we are out she is well behaved).
Occasionally yes they do get a smack if all other options have been exhausted. I used to use smacking as an immediate reaction but realised it doesnt do them or me any favours so I do try not to use it.
I dont like telling my kids to stop crying when they are throwing a tantrum- to be its their way of expressing their emotions when they are unable to do so verbally. Its like someone telling me as an adult to stop feeling the emotions im feeling- nobody can just switch off how they feel so why expect a child- who really probably doesnt even understand what/why they are feeling the way they do. Sometimes it does get the better of me and I do, but I try really hard not to. I try to give them a safe space where they cam unleash (ie their room), and let them get it out in whatever way they need. Obviously as they get older like dd1 and dd2 I try talking to them about it once they have calmed down- what happened for them to feel that way, what are ways we/they can deal with it better in future.
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