Throwing your tiara out of the pram


There I was, in the middle of this shop in Florida, deafened by the wails of a 3 year old girl having what is technically known as a ‘tantrum’. We’ve all been there.

She was stomping her feet demanding her mother to buy her this peculiar looking doll. Weighing up the pained expression on her mother’s face I supposed that 3 things could potentially happen:

1. Her mother might ignore her daughter’s wails

2. Her mother might tell her to be quiet

3. Her mother might give in to her demands

Unfortunately the exasperated mother chose option 3 … the girl’s crocodile tears evaporating as readily as her disinterest in the new doll.

Now fast forward 20 years to the point where that same young girl has become an adult. She will have learnt, through her own experience, that bad behaviour results in reward, creating a never ending ‘little-princess’ cycle of tantrums and tiaras… and no doubt, a stream of flimsy and broken relationships.

The key, of course, is to ensure the cycle isn’t created in the first place. However if a cycle is already established it can still be broken and the resultant behaviours changed.

My top tip? Reward only great behaviours. The tantrum-instigator naturally wants attention; if she (or he) can’t get it from behaving badly s/he will be compelled to try another tack that DOES meet them with a reward.