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How I Cracked Tantrums In My House

by Catherine Luna 3 years ago in children

It can be hard to figure out how to deal with tantrums, but these are some of the things that I have found work for our family.

I've made a discipline breakthrough in my household. My usually well-behaved and calm 2 1/2-year-old has suddenly discovered the terrible twos**. We recently took our first family vacation, and for the first few weeks back, I was convinced I had brought back the wrong toddler. There was no way my kid was screaming and rolling around on the floor because I told him that we didn't have any more bananas. Who is this maniac that yelled at me for asking if he had to go potty? He suddenly decided that sleep is no longer important, and if it wasn't his idea, it wasn't happening. There were a lot of tears for a bit there, many of them mine. I felt extremely unprepared, insecure, and helpless.

I'm sure many other parents have had many moments like this, and it certainly wasn't my first rodeo, but it was the hardest for me to figure out a solution to. I had many moments in which I had the wrong reaction, but once I took a moment to think of what to do I started to come up with some potential solutions. I knew that my frustrated and exacerbated reactions were only adding fuel to the fire, so I knew my first step needed to be calming myself, and trying to stay calm and patient. Kids pick up on our moods and responses, and use those observations to influence their moods and reactions to situations, which is a pattern I have noticed with my son on many occasions. It is obviously hard to calm down or stay patient when your toddler is driving you up the wall all day, so what I found worked best for me was walking away for a second before reacting, and taking a few breaths. Clearly, this is only okay if your kid is safe and can't hurt themselves or others, break things, or make a huge mess while you take a minute to compose yourself, and figure out the best way to help your child through this.

Contrary to popular belief, life is hard for toddlers! They are still learning how to communicate and do so many things, but they are also learning a huge amount of stuff. They want to be independent and experience all these amazing things that we adults take for granted, but they are small and scared, and there is still a lot that they can't understand. Parents are human, and as such, we get frustrated and lose our cool, which is incredibly understandable, but our kids need for us to understand them and approach them with patience. I like to get down on my son's level, and look him in the eye, and I use a quiet voice and simple phrasing to calm him down. He can absolutely understand and respond with more difficult phrasing under normal circumstances, but a tantrum is not the time for that. Sometimes I will repeat the same phrase over to him until he calms down enough to respond, I can say something like, "I know honey, you're really mad, because Mommy said you can't have a lollipop before dinner. That's hard because you want a lollipop right now, right?" I notice that once he has had his time to feel his emotions, and realizes that I truly understand why he is upset, he calms down enough to listen to my reasoning, and we can move on from the situation. I redirect him or give him a choice after we hug it out by saying something along the lines of "Now that you feel better, you can go pick a book to read while I finish cooking, or you can build something fun with your legos!" Yes this is actually how I try to speak to my son, I know it seems a bit ridiculous or exaggerated, and it definitely takes a lot of active and quick thought to come up with what I think the right thing to say is in a situation, but I find that I end up with a calmer child who understands my reasoning better, and I think we end public tantrums a bit quicker this way too! I usually separate him from the group, and take him somewhere private so he can focus on what I'm saying, and doesn't feel embarrassed. Every child is different, and I don't expect this to work for every child or family, but if anyone reading this is currently in that hard stage, and doesn't know how to get out, maybe reading this will help you find your own starting point.

*I only call this phase the terrible twos because that is what it is commonly called, I do not believe that two year olds can be terrible, and I don't particularly like the phrase.


About the author

Catherine Luna

Im a mom with a passion for writing amongst other things!

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