30 Days of Blogging, Day 8

The word of the day is Patience. 

As we inch closer to the ripe old age of 2, the “terrible two’s” start earning their name-sake. For about a month or two, Avery has been having regular tantrums. They happen over silly things like not being able to get the puzzle piece in the puzzle on the first try or get her sock off in the car, but also over legitimate emotions like learning to accept the realities of “no”, and as per my last post, sometimes the tantrums are caused by separation anxiety. My strong-willed little 16 month old will sometimes have up to a dozen tantrums in a day. 

Luckily they’re usually short, lasting just long enough to get a few tears down her cheeks, get her face good and blood-shot, and do some minor damage to my hearing. Yesterday she tantrumed for 45-minutes – just an ear piercing angry scream, stomping through the house. I don’t even remember what it was about. Probably that I wouldn’t hold her while I was making dinner. 

Dealing with a tantrum-throwing child requires So. Much. Patience. The trick is to not give them any kind of big reaction, which means remain calm and let them get it all out while somehow simultaneously teaching them that yelling and hitting isn’t how we communicate our needs. I sometimes offer her a big hug while she screams, but that more often than not gets me punched in the face. 

I try to see these tantrums as a good thing – she feels comfortable letting her true emotions out, she is developing her emotional regulation skills (early stages, obviously…), and she is finding her power and voice to fight for what she wants. 

I appreciate the developmental milestone that is having tantrums, but it’s still a less than enjoyable part of parenthood. Patience is the word of the day for more than just the patience it requires to parent through tantrums. I want to be patient with all of the hard parts of parenthood and let myself slow down to appreciate the good parts. I find myself wishing away toddlerhood for a future time when she can be reasoned with, when she sleeps through the night, when I get to hear, in her own words, her own voice, about all the complex thoughts going on in her head… But toddlerhood is also an amazing time and I don’t want to take it for granted. I don’t really want my little girl to grow up. I need patience to appreciate the now. 

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6 thoughts on “30 Days of Blogging, Day 8

  1. Can I offer a word of **assvice** from experience ?

    When they start the tantrum, get down to their level, talk to them and express the emotion to them looking in the eye.

    E.g. Yes Avery, I know you are angry right now because mom cannot hold you. Mom promises to hold you as soon as she finishes cooking. Till then, can you please help mom by playing with your blocks? Mom will join you soon and then we can all have fun.

    This usually works with my 2 year old. The minute he hears the word that he has to help mom is an important task and he will dutifully build me towers of lego blocks.

    Also, if he is really angry and screaming and rolling on the floor, I ask him to show me how angry he is.. Like express in action.. that angry(arms out wide),and express shock and usually that gets him smiling when he realizes mom understand him..

    What they are actually feeling is a need for validating their feelings.

    **Assvice over**

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the tips! I do name the emotion for her (I see that you’re really frustrated right now), and if she’s hitting I offer to her to hit a pillow instead of hurting people or things. I really like your idea to ask them to help mom with an important task. Definitely going to try that.

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      • I dont understand where and how they learn to hit, honestly. I got 2 boys, and I am constantly playing refree! We dont hit our kids nor do we hit each other.. I dont even have cartoons like Tom & Jerry where they hit each other.

        Liked by 1 person

      • I think it’s just a natural human reaction to pent up anger/tension. We learn as we grow up that it’s not socially acceptable to hit. It was in the book “it’s ok not to share” by Heather Shumaker where I read to redirect hitting to a pillow. The book recommends that, until they develop the self restraint to not hit when tantruming, the most important thing is that they know not to hurt people or break things with their hitting.
        I always figured I wouldn’t have to deal with redirecting physical agression because I’d never have a physically agressive kid, but you never can know what your kid will be like until they show you!

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  2. Tantrums are so testing! Society has made us believe these emotional expressions are unacceptable, but really it’s just the natural outlet for tiny human who can’t yet verbally express themselves and reason. My son has them and I try to remember that my reaction should not be to punish him but to comfort and correct him. This age is such a challenge! Sounds like you’re handling them as well an any mom!

    Liked by 1 person

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