The most well known phrase in child rearing is terrible twos, so naturally I wasn't expecting tantrums until Nicky turned two, right? Not... Her tantrums started before she was a year and a half old. Once she was comfortable with walking and a little more vocal, tantrums were fair game. I started to ask around and most people said their child started before two also. So why the heck is it called terrible twos ??? Some people added, its more like terrible one and half's, terrible twos, terrible threes and so on. Not going to lie, I started to panic a little bit. How was I going to do this? It's not just a year long thing, it seems more like a lifelong thing.
Of course I went on the internet immediately and started to read all about this. Honestly, the internet only made me worry more. As time went by I got more comfortable with the idea of this being a part of my new life; she's going to through tantrums and there's nothing I can do about it. I got so used to the idea that I could smell them coming. It's that tinkle in her eye that gives it away lol.
I want to share some things that made it a little easier to cope with this:
- We're all in this together. There is not one child in the entire world that hasn't thrown a tantrum, embarrassed their parents in public or made their parents sweat to control the situation a few times.
- Don't compare yourself to others. This was probably the most difficult for me. I would hear myself complain to my husband about Nicky's behavior saying, "so and so's child is so well behaved; I've never even seen him cry". My husband would tell me to stop comparing because every child is different and the little glimpse you get in that one moment of interaction is certainly not the full story. It took me a while to get this but I did and it has brought some peace of mind..
- This too shall pass. Don't let one bad moment (or a few sometimes) ruin a good day. There are usually more good moments then there are bad ones but somehow we tend to remember the bad more than the good. Thats just our nature. We remember the most stressful parts of our days over the great ones. Try and stay focused on the positive and the negative will disappear, not that tantrums will stop happening but they will be easily forgotten.
- Stay neutral. The less attention you give the child while throwing a tantrum, the faster it will pass. Keep a straight face and don't let them walk all over you. If you're in public and they throw themselves on the ground, pick them up from the floor with a straight face and walk away. They will resist but the more neutral you are the faster it will pass. Screaming back at them saying get up or stop that is exactly what they want. They cannot communicate their feeling very well so this is their form of getting their emotions out. This is why staying neutral is so important; it shows them that tantrums are not the way to express your feelings.
I hope this brings a little relief on the topic for you. Please share your tantrum tactics with me in the comments below :)