They are called the Terrible Twos and Terrifying Threes for a reason! One of the biggest reason being TANTRUMS. One of the most challenging aspects of the growing up years for a toddler as well as the parents! And while the toddlers throw tantrums, parents (mostly mommies staying with kids 24X7 have their own moments called – meltdowns).
Quite often, people say/think things like – why can’t you make him understand?
Toddlers will throw tantrums. They will test our limits and patience and sanity. Chances are they will not understand our reasoning and logic. They’re still figuring themselves out, still exploring their emotions. It’s a lot more challenging for them than for us. They didn’t read a manual before they arrived in our world. At least we had the luxury to be counseled by experienced moms, family, and internet on what to expect. Not them, not these children.
But sometimes, managing these tantrums take can a toll on the managing-parent as well. Mostly, we are able to control the situation with oodles of patience and love. But there are moments for the mommy or daddy when the patience is low and emotions are riding high and the parent “losing it” at the child once in a while.
There is no magic mantra for making the tantrums disappear. But there are ways of managing your own emotions when they get the better of you.
1. STEP AWAY FROM THE SCENE OF CONFLICT.
Distance gives you clarity. With a baby and solo parenting, it may not be always possible for one to step out for a stroll, go grab a coffee, etc. But even stepping away (of course ensuring the baby’s safe) to a different room can help. The idea is to detach yourself physically and give yourself a few seconds. That’s all it takes to neutralize those overwhelming moments of emotions. It takes only a few seconds for your anger to dissipate. If you can manage those crucial seconds, half the battle is already won. I know because I have been actively practicing this with my 2.5-year-old son.
2. GIVE YOURSELF TIME
Once you’ve stepped away, give yourself time and space. Breathe. Meditate. Even a few seconds help. Remind yourself, the reason for your frustration is a child who doesn’t know what or why is he feeling those emotions too.
Do whatever you find therapeutic (if possible) – Go for a walk, Listen to music, Read, Clean, Reorganize, Water the plants, Paint, Cook, Watch your favourite series or movie, Solve a puzzle, Play Sudoku 😉
It is easier to control your own emotions than any other person’s, even your own baby’s. So now with a much calmer mind, ask yourself how could you have handled that scene/conversation/situation better. Was that broken piece of cutlery or the torn book or the wet floor more important? Or was understanding the child’s needs more critical? I am not saying do not discipline your child. But pick the right time to do the “talking”. And a tantrum-in-progress is not the best of times.
With a better control of your own emotions, you will be in a better space to try and make your child understand.
The first step is often the most difficult. Those few seconds can make or break the situation. And anyway, as the cliché goes “This too shall pass”. They will not be kids forever.
Oh, the tantrums might continue! Just the reason might change. There’s the Frightening Fours, Fearful Five, and what not! Once a parent, always a parent. You are in it for life! Enjoy this ride! 😉
“Tantrums are not bad behavior. Tantrums are an expression of emotion that became too much for the child to bear. No punishment is required. What your child needs is compassion and safe, loving arms to unload in.”
― Rebecca Eanes,
― Rebecca Eanes,
If you found this post helpful, do check out my views on why inculcating values in children early on is important, Read here.
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