It’s official. Tantrums have started in this household and they are not fun. We comment on how she has started the “terrible twos” (I hate that saying) early so we think maybe she will be done them early. Wishful thinking I know but ya gotta dream people! We are at such a fun stage right now but 5% of the time when Isla is not laughing and singing and being oh so sweet and loving, she is screaming at the top of her lungs which I am pretty sure could shatter bullet proof glass, all while stomping her feet and contorting her body in such a way that I often wonder if she is being possessed by something! Throw in a little “love tap” to her mommy and daddy and I am left stunned and wondering “who the heck is this kid?”
Every day is a new chance to learn and navigate through this time. It’s still very early on but here are a few things I have already learned that I hope will be helpful to you whether it be now or in the future.
1. Don’t Judge
Never look at the mom in Wal-Mart with a screaming kid and think “Woah! She hasn’t got this parenting thing figured out at all!” There are two types of people that think like this; people without kids and people who think that there kids are perfect and would never let out an inappropriate peep. Toddler’s at this stage in the game don’t know any better. They can’t communicate (not that we can understand) and they don’t have the mental brain capacity yet to know what they are doing is not acceptable.They don’t care that there are people watching. You stroll by the toy section and they get a quick glimpse of something shiny and colourful making all sorts of noises and they freak out when you keep walking past it and tell them that they can’t have it. All they see is something they want. It’s that simple. They know what you are saying but don’t understand the reasoning for it yet and negotiating with a toddler is like getting laughed at in the face, literally! Isla always laughs in my face when I tell her she is doing something she shouldn’t be. No matter how perfect you are trying to raise your child, they are going to get upset, they are going to get frustrated and they are going to scream at the top of their lungs in a public place. Wait for it. It will happen and it will be out of your control.
This works for us. Giving her a lovey, her favourite dolly or Bubble Guppies on my iPad will make her forget about why she is upset 85% of the time. The other 15% is usually a loss cause and I have to remove her from the situation entirely. Changing the scenery like taking her outside or letting her play with Marley our dog will help relax her and she will soon forget why she was upset in the first place.
3. Let it Ride
When we are at home and I am cooking dinner (or heating something up in the microwave which is probably more accurate) and Isla is trying to get something out of the fridge that she can’t have, this is when all hell breaks loose. What she does next is the true definition of a tantrum and she does it right; lying on her back, kicking the floor, screaming, thrashing her arms back and forth (she looks like a sea creature I would not want to meet underwater) all while yelling “Pease, Pease, PEASE!!!” The more I focus my attention on her the more upset she becomes so I have learned to just continue on with what I am doing. I get dinner ready, the table set and water poured all while dodging her kicks. By the time we are ready to eat, I notice the cries have subsided and she is playing with the magnets on the fridge like nothing has ever happened.
These tips may not work for you and every child is different. I am not a Pediatrician or a master of children by any means but some things definitely work for us and some things don’t. The important thing to remember is that as quickly as it starts, it ends and as your child grows, they will be able to communicate with you more with less crying, screaming and frustration. Continue to give them the love and respect they need and deserve. That’s all that matters.