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The BEST Way to Deal with Tantrums March 20, 2011

Posted by nrhatch in Blogging, Humor, Mindfulness, Spirit & Ego.

If you’re a parent, or around young children, you have faced the occasional tantrum.  A child is over tired, over cranky, and unable to see “reason.”

Adults, too, throw the occasional tantrum or hissy fit.

Instead of debating as an intellectual exercise, they engage in hair pulling and mud-slinging. 

They refuse to re-evaluate their unsupported stance even when faced with ample evidence which would encourage a more rational being to reconsider  a narrow-minded or skewed viewpoint on the world.

Here’s the BEST way to deal with tantrums and reclaim your peace of mind:

1.  If it’s your EGO throwing the hissy fit by resorting to name calling and ad hominem attacks, press the PAUSE button.  Give yourself a time out.  Step back into the role of disinterested observer.  Count to ten.  If that doesn’t work, count to ten thousand. 

Relax.  Breathe.  Repeat. 

Most arguments are NOT life and death matters.  Regain your perspective before continuing to press forward.

2.  If the tantrum is being thrown by a child, reclaim the reins.  Give the child a time out until they have become rational and reasonable again.

3.  If the tantrum is being thrown by an adult who is acting like a child, walk away.  Ignore them.  Put some distance between their nasty, vituperative comments and your peace of mind.

But what if you walk away and they follow you?

Well . . . if you’re blogging on WordPress, you can press the PAUSE button for them.  Here’s how:

My Blog -> Dashboard -> Settings -> Discussion -> Scroll down to “Comment Moderation” and put them in the “Time Out” box.

Once they are in “time out,” their comments will NOT post to your blog unless and until you approve them. 

In short, you’ve shifted the balance of power.  You have reclaimed the reins.  You are free to approve or dis-approve each comment by that individual. 

Once they have calmed down, and returned to their senses, you can remove them from the “time out” box. 

Or not. 

Your blog.  Your rules.  And your peace of mind at stake.

Quote:  Dalai Lama Quote (The Blue Lotus Cafe) 

No rules.  Just write!

How about you?  Have you ever had someone try to hijack the discussion on your blog by calling you names or insulting others?

How did you handle it?

ADDENDUM:  Hear Ye!  Hear Ye!  The Case of the Public Scolding


1. Maggie - March 20, 2011

Good advice. Fortunately, I haven’t had many trolls come to my blog and start arguments… but I know if they did, I’d be blocking them. It’s really sad how some people use the Internet and “anonymity” to harass others.

nrhatch - March 20, 2011

What’s even sadder . . . some of them don’t even see it as harassment. They honestly (though mistakenly) believe they are defending themselves from attack.

That’s what the Ego does to us . . . it lies to us so often that we don’t see the delusions we have absorbed over time.

We create unnecessary suffering in ourselves and others when we are not mindful of our thoughts.

2. Paula Tohline Calhoun - March 20, 2011

NANCY!!!! I am SICK TO DEATH of your blatant rferences to me every time you post such reproving articles! STOP IT NOW! NOW! NOW! NOW! (I am holding my breath until I turn blue, pounding my fists and kicking my feet on the floor, on which I have fallen, in overwhelming frustration with you and your insulting comments.)

Oh. . .you weren’t referring to me? Heh-heh, ahem. Please forgive my outburst. I’ve had a long day, I’m tired, etc. (Fill in whatever acceptable excuse/explanation you can think of.) Have a nice day! 😀

Just in case any of your readers mistake that comment for a genuine tantrum, I will now point out tht I’M JUST KIDDING! (Or am I???)

nrhatch - March 20, 2011

Watch out . . . or into the “time out” box you will go. 😀

nrhatch - March 20, 2011

It is unlikely that I shall put your name into the box. We may, on occasion, disagree . . . but you are NEVER disagreeable.

You may defend your position . . . but you do so without getting defensive or being offensive.

Playing the debating game is wonderful FUN when we don’t resort to name calling, finger pointing, and vinegar laced comments. 😀

Paula Tohline Calhoun - March 20, 2011

Yes, but vitriol can also be wicked fun – depending on at whom it is addresssed (NEVER at you of course)!

Agreeable disagreement is one of the most fun ways to converse – because conversation is meant to be an exchange of ideas, and not ALWAYS a back-patting, mutual-admiration social event!

I always have great enjoyment with our usually witty repartee! I would say the wit is all on my end of the conversation, but that would be catty, wouldn’t it?! 😀

Cheers, my friend!

nrhatch - March 20, 2011

Conversations involving the honing of ideas are FUN . . . if they don’t involve the sharpening of claws on each other’s back.


Hsssssssss . . .

3. viviankirkfield - March 20, 2011

Thank you Nancy, for pointing out that not only little ones have tantrums. I love your advice…stepping back, time out, and realizing that most of the time, it is NOT a life and death situation. 🙂
I did a post on dealing with the temper tantrums of little ones that might be helpful for parents: http://viviankirkfield.wordpress.com/2010/11/24/avoiding-holiday-shopping-temper-tantrums/

nrhatch - March 20, 2011

I shall be around straight away. You always have such wonderful advice for parents with wee ones.

Thanks, Vivian.

nrhatch - March 20, 2011

Wonderful post, Vivian.

Some tips even work for adults gone “haywire.” If we are kicking and stomping our feet, we can learn to distract ourselves . . . by focusing on our breath, counting to ten, or looking for something more positive to focus our attention on:

Oh, look, chocolate! 😀

4. Loreen Lee - March 20, 2011

Dear Time Out Box. I only had to deal with a tantrum once as a parent, and I followed what I had learned while reading about Early Childhood Education, which was to hold them in a tight embrace, until they were able to get control of themselves. A lot of tantrums are caused by fatigue, and not a lack of reason, which in the children under the age of seven, (the age of reason in a child) is I would suspect not the main issue.
I would think rather they are emotional or fatigue issues.

nrhatch - March 20, 2011

Of course, it’s difficult to hold adults in a cyber-embrace if they are misbehaving in an internet forum. 😀

5. Loreen Lee - March 20, 2011

Addition to Time Out Box: I do believe however, that a child should be given more leverage than other people might consider wise, with respect to developing his/her self-esteem, personal self-expression, and ability to make choices. Don’t punish, educate.

nrhatch - March 20, 2011

I agree. We can educate others (both children and adults) by explaining the rules to them. For example, by reminding readers that their comments will be deleted if they:

* throw tantrums and hissy fits
* refuse to stay on point
* insist on following their own agenda
* bicker endlessly
* engage in hair pulling and mud-slinging
* otherwise behave badly

In short, by emphasizing that comments will be deleted when they detract from the discussion and negatively impact others in the audience. Cheers!

Loreen Lee - March 20, 2011

Dear Time Out Box: I also think we have to take into consideration the character and interests of the person we are talking with. There are many types and levels of communication, and it is possible that appreciating the variety, and taking what is given, according to the abilities of the ‘child’, can further our understanding of the differences between individuals.

nrhatch - March 20, 2011

It depends on the setting.

If 47 people are attending a discussion on wine making and one “heckler” in the crowd wants to transform the discussion into a lecture on esoteric philosophy, or the history of Ireland, I don’t think that the best approach is to “take what is given.”

Instead the heckler should be ushered out into the corridor so the discussion can proceed as planned. If that person desires further understanding, perhaps they should seek a suitable therapist. 😀

6. Piglet in Portugal - March 20, 2011

Tantrums! LOL

You must have heard me having a major hissy fit over barking dogs. They have barked non-stop for the last two hours while I’ve been trying to find peace in my garden. Did I really scream for “goodness sake SHUT UP – CHEGAR!!!! so LOUD you could hear me across the other side of the ATLANTIC? 😳 I’ve been stomping around my garden plotting murder!!…came in to have a cup of tea, regain control, my dummy and my teadybear and I read this post 😳

You are certainly making us all have a long hard look at ourselves as others may see us. 😦

When we speak, our words can be discussed, retracted and forgotten. When we write our words of anger or sarcasm on someones blog our words are there for the whole world to see and judge long after a disgreement has been forgotten. 😳

I do have someone comment on my blog from time-to- time when (as my daughter said) I post contentious issues). However, I am always happy for people to disagree with me, hell why not, I can’t always be right. I respect their opinion, except when it’s written in a very condescending, rude or sarcastic manner. For example…I was fortunate enough on my post “Turkish experience in France” Papa Joe wrote a hilarious response in comments. He saved me from myself and nearly stooping to hissy blogger’s level LOL 🙂 The second time “hissy blogger” dropped by on the “Parking Scammers” post I did measure my response very carefully as I detest public slanging matches…

Hey, perhaps a SLTW post on blogging etiquette may be in order? 🙂 open the floor for debate and we can all chip in. It would certainly be interesting to read everyones comments 🙂

Now I do need that cup of Tea – bet it’s stewed! LOL 🙂

Actually, blow the tea I’ve sat here so long a nice glass of red wine is in order 🙂

chin chin

nrhatch - March 20, 2011

I did NOT hear you on this side of the Atlantic. 😉

I agree with you. I welcome differing points of view and civil disagreements on SLTW . . . but rude behavior is not welcome.

Enjoy the wine! {clink}

7. oldancestor - March 20, 2011

I just punch people in the face when they act up. That seems to catch them by surprise.


nrhatch - March 20, 2011

You are sooooo bad, OA! But you make me laugh. 😀

nrhatch - March 20, 2011

“I’m gonna buy be a gun, a gun, yeah . . . ‘cos I need a friend now, yeah, yeah . . . boop boop she bop bop”

{{To the tune of “I’m gonna buy me a dog” by the Monkees}}

Paula Tohline Calhoun - March 20, 2011

Actually, that’s probably the best way to end a tantrum that I’ve read so far – at least to end it IMMEDIATELY! Consequences, however, might not end so quickly, once they’ve begun. . . 😀

8. Tilly Bud - March 20, 2011

I’ve been fortunate so far on my blog but I did once have a disagreement on FB by someone who took exception to what I still believe was a reasonable comment. She was the first one to call ‘Nazi’, so I think I was in the right.

nrhatch - March 20, 2011

Some people are both close-minded and quick to anger . . . it’s a dangerous combination indeed.

Like TNT, all it takes is a stray spark to set them off.


9. granny1947 - March 20, 2011

Difficult to deal with tantrums when it is the next door neighbours throwing them…fortunately tonight’s tantrum didn’t last too long…want to smack that girl till her teeth rattle!

nrhatch - March 20, 2011

Well, you already know the best way to deal with them . . . call the police. 😦

10. nancycurteman - March 20, 2011

How would I handle a name caller on my blog? I’d have a temper tantrum and remove any trace of them from my site!!!

nrhatch - March 20, 2011

Wonderful! Although I suspect that your “temper tantrums” are mild and filled with decorum. 😉

The best way to deal with ill-mannered name calling and other non-productive and less-than-civil discourse is to “kick it to the curb.”

Problem solved.

11. CMSmith - March 20, 2011

Thanks for the tip about the “timeout” box. I wondered about that.

nrhatch - March 20, 2011

It’s a brilliant feature for restoring order and decorum when comments degenerate into tactics and strategies better suited to mud wrestling and bar room brawls. 😀

12. kateshrewsday - March 20, 2011

I do like the punch people in the face suggestion but I have an aversion to getting arrested 😀
A time out box on WordPress – I never knew! Thanks for a valuable tip , Nancy!

nrhatch - March 20, 2011

I just discovered it two nights ago. It’s my favorite feature on WordPress at the moment.

Aah . . . peace. 😀

13. jeanne - March 20, 2011

I haven’t had to the need for the time out box as a blogger, but I am glad to know that it exists.

nrhatch - March 20, 2011

Most people will never need a “time out” but if someone does get a “bee in the bonnet” or a “bug up their butt,” the comment moderation feature is a nice tool to have available.

14. barb19 - March 20, 2011

So far I haven’t had any trouble on my blog, fingers crossed.
I never knew about the Time-Out Box on WordPress, so thanks for the heads-up – just in case I ever need it! Great feature.

nrhatch - March 20, 2011

I hope that it will be the most under-utilized tool in your blogging tool box. 🙂

15. suzicate - March 20, 2011

Just got back in town and reading backwards from my inbox…am starting to think I must have missed something this weekend!?!

nrhatch - March 20, 2011

That will teach you to have a life outside of blogging! 😎

16. Carol Ann Hoel - March 20, 2011

I received a comment once, the only one that ever caused me to pause. My first thought was to answer via email and not post it. I asked for wisdom as I read it several more times. There were some words in all caps, which gave the impression of shouting, but we are limited on ways to emphasize a word, so I discounted the caps, not assuming they were shouts. After many reads, I decided there was no reason not to publish it. In fact, there were some very good points presented in it. I’m very glad that I took the time to look carefully rather than to offend someone commenting on my blog. I replied favorably, as I should have.

This is not to say that I’d never choose to refrain from publishing a comment. There. are. times. Fortunately, it hasn’t happened to me yet. Blessings to you, Nancy…

nrhatch - March 20, 2011

Thanks, Carol Ann.

Like you, I try to give people the benefit of the doubt . . . but sometimes people need to be “reined in” a bit.

Whoa, Nelly! 😉

17. jannatwrites - March 20, 2011

Good to know about the time out box, but (luckily) I haven’t had to use it yet. The people visiting my blog have been well rested, well fed and displayed very good manners 🙂

Now, if this comment ends up in moderation, I’ll know I did something wrong!

nrhatch - March 20, 2011

I can say the same here . . . 99.9% of the time. But, on occasion, someone gets a little cranky. 😉

18. jannatwrites - March 20, 2011

*Whew!* Looks like I’m clear…no time out for me tonight 🙂

nrhatch - March 20, 2011

You were holding your breath, right? 😀

{{loud exhale}}

19. eof737 - March 21, 2011

I haven’t had any blog fiends yet… But have had a few nasty spammy comments that I simply deleted. I would most likely delete the inflammatory comment… life is too short! 🙂

nrhatch - March 21, 2011

I prefer not to deal with vinegar and vitriol on SLTW. That’s why I left the practice of law. 😎

20. Cindy - March 21, 2011

Oh my. thanks for this!

nrhatch - March 21, 2011

You’re welcome. You never know when the “time out” box will come in handy. 😎

21. nrhatch - March 21, 2011

For an AWESOME follow up . . . please see the ADDENDUM with a link to a Public Scolding! 😀

22. Tilly Bud - March 21, 2011

Sob. I don’t have a Time Out box.

nrhatch - March 21, 2011

Did you look at the Comment Moderation section? I have two boxes ~ one for moderation and one for SPAM.

23. Tilly Bud - March 21, 2011

Mine just has this:

[]Don’t discard spam on old posts
Hold a comment in the queue if it contains or more links. (A common characteristic of comment spam is a large number of hyperlinks.)

When a comment contains any of these words in its content, name, URL, e-mail, or IP, it will be held in the moderation queue. One word or IP per line. It will match inside words, so “press” will match “WordPress”.

nrhatch - March 21, 2011

That’s it!

That’s the time out box. Just put someone’s name in that box and they are in “time out.”

Tilly Bud - March 21, 2011

Ooooooh…I’m a literal kinda girl; if a box doesn’t have a huge label on it saying, ‘This is a box’, I don’t always know it’s a box.

Thanks for the help. Hope I never need it, but it’s comforting to have the option 🙂

nrhatch - March 21, 2011

I hear you. I didn’t realize what it was until this week either.

Now it’s my new favorite feature. 😉

24. Piglet in Portugal - March 24, 2011

Just a quicky you gave us a link to free gifs and now I can’t find it. I should have saved it straight away…and I did not 😳 This is a lesson to me in Don’t put of until tomorrow…
Please can you share the link again…I need a gif of a computer.
Thanks in anitcipation
PiP 🙂

nrhatch - March 24, 2011

It doesn’t ring a bell, PiP. I’m running out the door for an appointment and can’t look now.

Maybe use the word search for “gifts”?

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26. Pseu - May 11, 2011


nrhatch - May 11, 2011

I’ve only put a few visitors in the time out box. Most of their comments end up being posted, but on occasion I’ve chosen not to share them.

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