May 8, 2014
The dreaded temper tantrum! Its not about if it will happen, but more about when! Every child is going to go through the tantrum phase. Some will start earlier than others, some won't be as bad, some will last five minutes when others will last hours. The best thing I think a parent can do is just to prepare themselves...let me explain.
I will never forget Ace's first public tantrum. We were grocery shopping in Arizona, I was eight months pregnant with Pierce and Chris was away at OCS. The outing seemed like a normal one. Ace was sitting in the cart happily and we were just checking items off our list. Then we went passed the candy and toy aisle, not that we were buying anything, just kind of strolling from aisle to aisle. When it happened. He spotted a cheap little toy truck that he asked for, and I nonchalantly said "no you don't need that" BAM, screams like I had never heard from my child. Back arching, arms whipping around like a windmill, tears and screams. I was in some kind of state of shock. I just had no idea what was going on. I had never seen this before from him. I did what every rookie young mom would do. I tried to distract him, food you want food? Lollipop? Okay okay here have the damn truck! But it was too far gone, it wasn't about the truck anymore, it was about the fact that I denied him it in the first place. He was outraged. I could feel myself turning red, arm pits sweating, hot flashes, heart racing. My fight or flight instincts kicked in and I grabbed my uncontrollable child and booked it out of there. Left the whole cart full of food, just up and ran!
Was that the right thing to do? Who knows. Would I do that today? Absolutely not! But I had to learn and grow and get comfortable with myself in order to control my child. It took time, it took a lot more outings and public meltdowns to get to where I am now with the whole tantrum drama.
Honestly, now tantrums don't really phase me. I have learned that my children feed off of my reaction. So it is more about being able to control my own frustrations and emotions in that moment than my child's. These are little humans we are dealing with here, they have minds of their own. They are filled with emotions and ideas that they are trying to sort out. It is my job to help them sort that stuff out the best way I can. Sometimes they need to just tantrum it out. Now, with that being said I don't just let my kids ruin other peoples time out of their house. If my kids need to be removed from the situation, say at a restaurant, so be it. We will regroup if we need to. If we are at Target (my children's tantrum place of choice) I just keep it moving. Tantrum and everything I just try and get in and get out. For me, I have learned that I am not going to get too many solo trips to run errands. So I have to make the most of the time I have. When a tantrum breaks out I will try and talk them off that ledge, calmly explain to them that they need to control themselves or we will have to leave. This usually works for Pierce. Ace is different, he needs to see real consequences before he will stop. He needs to see that I will follow through with removing him from the situation. As a parent you have to be consistent (took me a long time to learn that one). As much as it will be a hassle to stop what you are doing and follow through with the old "parental threat" it will pay off. We have gotten to a point with Ace that when he does start to throw a fit about something we just start to make the move towards the exit and 9 times out of 10 he will calm himself down.
This is the same with at home. If fits of rage start to break out we just remove whichever child from the situation. Whatever toy is being fought over gets eliminated from the equation. If they need to just throw themselves on the ground and flop around like a fish for a few minutes, we make sure they are in an open area to do so. No need to add an injury to the chaos. My kids have been heard telling one another "otay just scweam it out". I have seen that when I give them more attention while they are raging against the machine it just makes it more intense. If I ignore them, walk away, and just let them figure it out it seems to stop much faster. I don't want to give them attention for bad behavior.
In my very limited parenting experience I have seen a glimmer of the light at the end of the tunnel. Ace at four is extremely different than Ace at two. Even with Pierce his tantrum heyday was at about 20 months. Now he is much less extreme, and much more "controllable". I have also seen a huge change within myself as a parent. I have to keep my cool as best as I can. It doesn't always work....I am human after all and sometimes my emotions get the best of me. But it is all just one big work in progress!
Come link up with us every Thursday and share your wisdom. Also, come check out our mamas who have some wisdom of their own.
May 8: Taming the Temper Tantrums
May 15: Weaning from Breastfeeding or From Formula to Cow’s Milk
May 22: Dealing with Mommy Guilt
May 29: When People Share Their Opinions and How to Lovingly Handle it
June 5: Traveling with your Toddler
June 12: How to get your toddler to eat their veggies…or their food at all
June 19: How to make time to blog in the busyness of motherhood
June 26: Bedtime Battles (nap or bedtime)
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