Today we're going to wax extremely poetic about tantrums.
Ah, the tantrum! Something my children HAVE NEVER done and WOULD NEVER DO. I'm kidding, of course. My kids have had and
will continue to have tantrums for years to come, I reckon. Kids are human beings. And human beings have
a tendency to be assholes from time to time.
This realization changed my life, by the way — the idea
that GOOD PEOPLE can be giant pains in the ass. The fact that all good people
have been assholes at one point in their lives and will, most likely, revisit
that assholery again, even sporadically, has opened my heart to the glory of
humanity. It has also opened my mind to being more accepting of tantrums — from
children, adults, animals, etc.
And that's really all I've got when it comes to dealing with
BE THE TANTRUM, YO. BE IT! EXIST WITHIN THE WALLS OF THE
TANTRUM AND FIND YOUR ZEN PLACE TO NAMASTE.
Also, every single tantrum that has ever happened has come
to an end.
That said, I feel that we as a generation of parents could stand
to be a little more … disciplinarian. There is, I think, a collective fear permeating
our community — thanks to social media and its depiction of love and light and
blessed perfection. If our children aren't Pinterest-perfect in public, well
then, we've all failed. And so. We are willing to do whatever it takes to keep
them smiling for the camera. Which is a huge problem because that is not real
life, yo. Tantrums do not get Likes and Pins.
However, giving in is not the answer.
I have learned this the hard way, by the way, because when
you are out in public, you have the choice to:
... make peace with the fact that you are probably being judged and hated by everyone around you.
A. Give into the thing that is being demanded and experience peace and harmony in the afterword or …
B. Say NO because you MEAN NO and deal with the meltdown of the century/have to drag your child (and other children) kicking and screaming out of the store where you have just filled your cart with groceries.
Willpower is an important thing to establish with one's
children, I feel. Not that we shouldn't all know when to pick our battles — it's
just that we also need to know when to GO TO BATTLE. And that it's OK to do
so. It's OK to raise our voices, to yell sometimes if we need to, to say NO.
(Of course, there are cases of children who cannot help the
way their bodies feel and the way their voices carry and the way they react in
certain situations — and that is to be respected, as well. I would love to hear
from some of you on this, by the way. Please share.) I have written about my
struggles with Bo on GGC and although cutting sugar from her diet has
drastically reduced meltdowns, they still occur in her more than the others.
Her willpower is otherworldy and completely unflappable. Which is an amazing
asset/frustrating challenge, depending on the day.
That said, here are my five ways of dealing with tantrums. Please feel free to add yours to the
1. Give them space. If I've learned anything from a tantrum, it's that it is not my job to calm my child. It is THEIR job to calm
themselves. And so, I wait it out on the sidelines until I am wanted.
2. If you're in
public, make peace with the fact that you are probably being judged and hated
by everyone around you. Smile, apologize for the inconvenience and, if possible, move your child to a less-populated area.
3. Recognize that your child is still an amazing human being, even though he's acting a little bit like an asshole at the moment. This
doesn't mean you love him any less, by the way. If anything, you love him
more because you're willing to treat him like a human being that you want to
see grow into a more evolved human being. Give yourself a high-five for that,
4. Know that you're not alone.
5. And that everything is temporary. Even tantrums.