Video: Tantrums? Just Walk Away
See how Jill Smokler keeps it scary as part of the Care.com Interview Series.
Morgan Burke, Contributor
Articles> Discipline Advice> Video: Tantrums? Just Walk Away


Jill Smokler has never been afraid of confessing her deepest and darkest parenting blunders (and triumphs for that matter!). As part of the Care.com Interview Series, we caught up with the Scary Mommy herself and got the low down on just how "scary" she really is when it comes to disciplining her three kids.

What is the biggest discipline mistake you feel you've made?

I don't make mistakes, I'm perfect! Oh goodness. I think sending the kids to their room as punishment sort of backfired because they have all their toys in their room, it's the best place they can be, they're alone playing with all their stuff and I think that was pretty ineffective as a consequence to doing something wrong. I do make mistakes daily.

How do you handle tantrums, you know the times when they aren't working it out. What's your go-to move?

I usually just ignore it. I have this very funny video of Evan, my youngest, throwing a tantrum and he's thrusting, shaking around and screaming and I leave the room and it stops and he like peaks around, sees me and starts it again. So that is really effective to just walk away from it because it is all for show and once you stop paying attention it generally stops.

You talk a lot about having flexible kids, so how do you run your home? How would you say your real stance is on discipline in general?

Discipline is hard. It's hard to be consistent and it's especially hard when some of their punishments punish me just as much as them. If I take away their hour of TV a day, that's an hour that I don't have to shower in peace, that I can't be talking on the phone, that I can't be doing a conference call so I have to really gauge what punishments don't penalize me just as much.

Check out the rest of our Care.com Interview Series: The Discipline Mistakes I've Made

Jill Smokler is a wife, a mother of three and the author of the immensely popular blog, Scary Mommy. Averaging over 1.5 million views a month, the site has become a community of parents where there's a belief (and relief) that parenting doesn't have to be perfect. Her first book, Confessions of a Scary Mommy, debuted in April 2012, making it on The New York Times bestseller's list in its first week. Get more of Jill on Facebook and Twitter.

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(10) Comments
Diana D.
Diana D.
That"s good advice,I have tried this as a Day Care Lady. It work"s....Miss Diana. At Little Angel"s Day Care..In Severville Tenn.
March 4, 2014 at 1:57 PM
Suzi G
Suzi G
I totally agree with Merian. My twins attempted a temper tantrum...once. I know I ruined it for them...the rite of passage from baby to child, the testing of boundaries, the expression of frustration ..RUINED!
I couldn't help it but it was kind of funny and annoying. Two choices discipline..yup... or ask them to show me their new dance moves. 'So that was a stomp with the right ..a ummpphhh, clench fists,exaggerated mommy roll to the ground, show me that again..' and so on. They really tried hard to maintain but their sense of humor got the best of them. Wasn't much point bothering with a tantrum after that.
October 2, 2013 at 4:30 AM
Brianna W.
Brianna W.
Thankyou for the Advise :)
May 2, 2012 at 11:15 PM
Maryellen M.
Maryellen M.
Temper tantrums, at best, are noisy, embarrassing (depends where you are when one occurs) and can seem to last a long time (when it is happening to a child you're caring for)...Walk away, slowly walk away, walk away but stick close by in case the temper tantrum turns into a throwing tantrum LOL; always make sure they cannot hurt themselves
May 2, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Maryellen M.
Maryellen M.
As difficult as it may be at times, consistency is the best rule to follow...I usually use the Time Out method for pre-schoolers (those that walk and run) with 1 minute per age (have a special spot), if they get up before time is up, set them back down, repeat as neccesary...it helps them if you set a timer...keep guidelines simple: pick up all toys before going outside or watching tv...weather permitting, go outdoors and let them run and play
May 2, 2012 at 10:48 PM
Ashley P.
Ashley P.
Fantastic Advice! (:
April 28, 2012 at 9:36 PM
Merian M.
Merian M.
The best way to teach children self control is to show it yourself. Sometimes when my grandchildren do things like hold their breath to get their way, I just have to laugh. I know they are just trying to see what will work, but really, it's just too funny. When they see me laughing, they feel ridiculous and they NEVER do it again. Also, the "Sweet Pickles" series of books really helps kids see some of the foolish things they do by protraying these characteristics in the animal characters in the books.
April 27, 2012 at 4:22 PM
Anna G.
Anna G.
I agree with the tantrum thing 100%. I babysit a girl who throws the absolute worst tantrums and if you unnie her, they generally go away!
April 27, 2012 at 10:08 AM
Tricia G.
Tricia G.
Patients and like you said consistent :) great advice works with my little one.
April 27, 2012 at 2:17 AM
Amanda A.
Amanda A.
Great Advice!
April 26, 2012 at 12:15 PM

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