A few years back, we took Lily to her first therapy session. We took her because she had just been diagnosed with D and she was only 3 years old. I wasn't sure how to explain things to her, how to answer questions that arose about D, or how to discipline her for misbehaving and not eating. I could no longer just take her food away. And she knew that.
We packed up our little toddler and went to therapy once a week for two months. We learned so much. Lily was never a bad child, still isn't. She listens and is respectful. But she is a smart child. A very smart child who is not afraid to use this to her advantage.
The one thing that really stayed with me from this therapy is to simply shut yourself off when your child starts throwing a fit. Do not yell, do not correct, do not give positive reinforcement, do not even give "the look." Your child is looking for attention and will be getting it whether it is good attention or bad attention. Now, this is not an easy thing to do. Your blood will boil. Your inside voice will be cussing up a storm. But you can show no emotion at all. You just go on about your business while they lay there kicking and screaming. Step over them and continue on with your day. This took lots of practice and I still fail sometimes at doing so. I will tell you it works though. Like a charm. If one of my children is whining incessantly or throwing a huge fit, I don't even acknowledge their presence. This particularly annoys Abby as she starts screaming "Stop ignoring me!!" After a few minutes though, they stop whatever attention-seeking behavior they were doing since they are getting no reaction from me.
I find this true of adults as well. There are some adults in this world that have yet to leave elementary school emotionally. They are immature, cruel, vindictive and just overall...not very good people. I find that adults often create all of this drama around themselves in order to get attention from a certain someone or something. It is easy to fall into this trap if you aren't careful. I think if you just ignore some people, they will simply go away. They will get sick of trying to ruffle your feathers. Just like a child that is not getting his or her way with a full-blown tantrum, an adult should not get his or her way when throwing a tantrum. Adults should know better, take the high road, and move on.
So, I have tried to apply all of the things that I have learned in the last few years to my daily life and it isn't easy! Sometimes the easy way out is to fight back and go nuts. I have learned that you cannot win against an irrational person (FYI...tantrum-throwing children are NOT rational) so it is best to just give no reaction and go on about your business!