Not that I’ve ever thrown one or have had anyone throw one at me (I played a passable third base in Little League) but tantrums, I’m told, are more and more commonplace in the adult world. Nothing very positive was solved by throwing a tantrum and Seth Godin points out that even if you calm the tantrum thrower down! you have not solved the problem. In deed, you may have made it worse since you have reinforced the behavior.
Godin offers three east steps to properly address tantrums:
Listen. Listen to the person, not the tantrum. The best way to do this is to deescalate the problem by not arguing back. Let the person blow their steam, then ask the write down, email or txt their issues (no one talks anymore, that’s so 90s). Then try to separate what it is that is bothering the tantrum thrower from the issues s/he has. Believe it or not, a tantrum thrower maybe 100% right but if you try to reason him/her through the tantrum, nothing will get addressed.
Fight the urge. when people get angry at us or project their anger at us, we are often tempted to respond in kind. Richer by throwing our own tantrum or showing how right we are. Don’t give in to this urge. If you throw a tantrum, they’ve won already and if you try to pick apart every single thing they’ve said, no one wins.
Avoid. The best way to address tantrums is to avoid them in the first place. Tantrums usually don’t occur at the first instance of frustration. They usually come as a result of accumulated frustration. Look for the trigger points in the people that you deal with and provide and outlet and vehicle for them to be heard earlier in the game.