Ahh the terrible twos. What can I say? To be totally honest, just thinking about it makes me basically speechless. Sometimes my son will go off into a tantrum and all I can do is stare at him like he is an alien from another planet. For the most part, when a tantrum is taking place, you just have to let it run its course. There are times when I HAVE to intervene, and I’ll get to that later. The point of today’s post is to share what I’ve learned thus far in my parental career, and how I deal with the different scenarios.
- Remain As Calm As Possible.
Y’all, When I tell you this is HARD to do, I mean it. They say that people of Italian or Latin descent have very passionate tempers. My child has BOTH of those running through his bloodstream and I 100% believe this. When Alden gets mad, he gets M.A.D. When he gets mad, it is hard to deal with. There are days when I’ve had a rough work day and the drive home was awful and I am just not in the mood. It is very trying to remain calm and I’ll be honest, sometimes I lose it. Sometimes I’ve reached my limit of being the “calm” mom and I’ve got to get mean. It is my personal finding though, that this usually makes things worse. Generally when I snap at him, the tantrum ends up turning into an explosion, and no one wants an exploding toddler. If you feel like your blood is starting to boil, close your eyes,and take a few breaths. If you need to walk away for a minute, then walk away. Please be mindful though, that tantrums tend to lead to irrational behavior, so just make sure that if you choose to walk away and give yourself a moment to breathe, that they will not be in immediate danger.
- Try Your Best To Be Understanding.
Emotions are exhausting. Even as grown adults with experience dealing with our emotions, its tough sometimes. Understand that your child is feeling emotions and they do not know how to express that. They do not understand what is going on. That doesn’t mean that they can act like a psycho all the time with no consequences, but it does mean that if we keep in our minds that what they are dealing with they do not understand, it can help the situation much better. Let me put it this way ladies… Remember when you experienced PMS for the first time and you thought you were going crazy? I remember getting really sad for NO reason at all. Then I got angry because I couldn’t figure out what was going on. It sucks right? Well just think of your child’s tantrum as a raging bout of PMS. At least then you can empathize with them.
- Intervene When Needed.
OK.. So this pretty much goes without saying, but I’m putting it anyway. Here’s the thing; my son does this thing when he gets upset where he tries to make himself throw up. I don’t know why he does this, or how he learned to do this, but it is annoying and terrifying. I try to ride out a tantrum and just let him be, but when he starts doing things like that, or hitting his head on the floor, I HAVE to step in. Some parents choose not to, and that is up to you. I just feel like, we are already miserable here with the tantrum going on, why do I need to clean up throw up/ listen to my child gagging if I don’t need to. Generally I just grab his hand before it gets into his mouth (or pull it out if it is already there) and sternly tell him “NO, we do NOT do that!” Most of the time he starts screaming even louder, but hey at least we only have a tantrum on our hands now.
- Talk About The Behavior AFTER The Tantrum.
I’ve tried several times to talk to Alden during a tantrum and it doesn’t work. It doesn’t matter if I’m trying to calm him down, give him something that will make him happy, or just trying to find out what the issue is. it doesn’t work. Generally, it makes him more upset. I’ve discovered that waiting until he is calm is best. Then I can sit down with him and tell him that I don’t like it when he gets upset, and that if he doesn’t like something just tell me. He doesn’t always react to me with him being 2 and all, but I think it is setting good procedures for the future.
With all the above being said, every child is different, and so these things may not work for your child. Parenting is an ever evolving learning process. I don’t think that anything on this planet can prepare you for tantrums. It is wild! The best we can do is roll with it, and breathe our way through it. Sometimes it can feel like we are losing control, or that we do not know what we are doing. I promise that we are all in this thing together. Do the best you can, roll with the punches, and love those kids with everything you’ve got!