Aug 19, 2013

Dealing with Tantrums

It’s called ‘terrible twos’ for a reason and boy are they terrible!

Although these days, the beginning of the tantrums are starting a lot earlier, usually around 18 months. While there are the few exceptions, toddlers who are well behaved and accept the level of authority and don’t push the boundaries (I have met one, a girlfriend of mine who has THE perfect son and one who I would be more than happy to swap with my eldest!!), majority are now testing the levels of authority and want to see how far the boundaries can be pushed.

It doesn’t take much to get them started
I’ve noticed with my eldest, it always starts over something small. Dropping her fork during meal times, can’t find her dolly, wanting to get out of the pram etc. When it doesn’t happen IMMEDIATELY, the tantrum starts. You can see the momentum building. The tears dry up, the wailing gets louder, the legs and arms start kicking and moving and then I know she’s reaching the peak of it. Our tantrums can last anything from 5 minutes to over an hour, depending on what caused it.

The Doctor’s Reaction: No Reaction
One of our worst tantrums happened at the doctor’s surgery and my eldest was only just beginning this new stage. I was completely unprepared on how to deal with them and I dreaded going out in public in case something triggered them. However, my doctor, a father of 3, completely amused, sat there calmly and watched the show. After receiving no reaction, my daughter stopped, looked at him and went to find something to play with. I was speechless. Here I was, trying to calm her, pick her up, distract her, sing to her and he just ignored her.

The Doctor’s Advice: Ignore Her
“Ignore her. It doesn’t matter what it is, ignore her. You are always right. The minute you start to lose that authority, she will win and she will continue to win and you don’t want that.” THAT has been the best advice I ever got! While it was hard to do at first, slowly, I can see it is starting to work. When the tantrum is starting, I walk away. I check that she is not in harm, and then I ignore her. At first, it was hard, but it is gradually getting easier and I have found that now, after receiving no reaction, she gradually stops and finds something to do.

It’s Tough but it Works
It is still hard in public, and I do get looks from other parents, some with disapproving stares, some wanting to help, but I stick to my decision and ignore it. It does stop and we can continue.

Stick to your Decision
My best advice, is stick to your decisions on how to deal with tantrums. Ignore everyone else around you. They don’t know your child and their capabilities (and they also don’t have to live with your child either!) It does get easier and that’s a piece of hope we all need to cling to!

Author Bio:
Jade, Mother of Two, from Flower Child Baby Boutique Glebe 

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