Care & Feeding of the Temper Monster

by Gary E. Dudley, Ph.D.

These notes on "The Care and Feeding of the Temper Monster" are offered to parents everywhere who, unlike Rafael's parents, enjoy the Temper Monster and want to encourage his presence. I know there are such people because only last week I saw a bumper sticker on a pickup truck which read, "My kid can beat up your Honor Student." So, for people who enjoy this type of behavior, here is a guide to the cultivation of Temper Monster behavior:

  • Try to ignore the early signs of Monster behavior (the "maybe he'll just go away" approach).
  • Be sure to let the Temper Monster be close around you and the rest of the family. The more people who watch and listen to the Monster, the bigger and meaner he gets.
  • Interact with the Temper Monster repeatedly. Better yet, try to reason with him while he's out of control.
    Yell and scream at him. Try to "out-volume" him. Better yet, scream your favorite expletives (cuss words are best here). This will help him develop new, more provocative strategies.
  • Slug him, or try to spank him. This is an empowering game for Temper Monsters, and is guaranteed to make them gain strength.
  • Make threats about what you're going to do "if..." (Example: "I'm gonna take your TV away for a year if you don't stop this!")
  • Give a strong sermon on how bad temper behavior is, and how naughty is a child who has such behavior.
  • Call the Monster names - the uglier, the better!
  • After the Monster leaves, forget how hurt and angry you felt and quickly get back to "business as usual."
  • Buy an extra treat, to try to bribe the Temper Monster to “chill out.”

If you follow these guidelines, you too can raise ferocious, monstrously out of control Monsters that will be the delight of your local daycare center, school, neighborhood and society. Good luck!