This year end has not been easy on us all. I am not really sure why but we are all feeling it. Jack, specifically has been a challenge. There have been tantrums, huge, elaborate, throw himself on the floor, kind of toddler tantrums. It’s mainly about clothes – socks, shorts, jeans, shirts – getting dressed is a fight. If the socks can’t get on right or the jeans have a spot on or the shirt isn’t long sleeve or if Barack Obama wears a black tie then its a huge deal. HUGE. Tears, screaming, whining, shouting, crying.
He is an angel at school, obviously. I think the only reason the teacher actually believes me is because we have, at times, both arrived at school in tears. We are trying to deal with it. We are walking that tight rope between setting boundaries and giving in. We all know that line. It usually happens about 30 minutes into a screaming tantrum, you consider giving in, giving up. You know you shouldn’t, you know why you need to stand firm but its 17h30, dinners about one second away from burning, a child needs to be fetched from swimming in 10 minutes, another child needs to bath. You just don’t have the emotional energy or physical time to get down to his level and try to explain you understand his feelings but he really can’t eat the raw chicken drumstick. So you shout or you smack or you send to the naughty corner or you bribe with some sugar – you do pretty much anything you can to just stop the screaming.
Some days, though, you do get it right. You do stay calm, you explain, he understands and calm is restored. At the moment those days are rare in our house but they do happen. On those days I give us all a gold star.
There are a few things I have figured out though to make it a little easier for us all. So when your toddler (or even 10 year old for that matter) is mid tantrum try these 3 easy steps.
1. Grab a glass of wine/whisky/coke/SuperM/tea or a slab of chocolate. Whatever is your comfort food – grab it!
2. Lock yourself in the bathroom with your wine/whisky/coke/SuperM/tea or slab of chocolate and enjoy it. Savor each sip/bite. Breathe. Drink/eat!
3. Look in the mirror, high five yourself, put your warrior helmet on and head back out onto the battleground.
Tantrums are not easy. They can be disruptive and exhausting. They are also very different from child to child. Some kids respond to a time out, some to a star chart, others to a warning. There is no one fit solution, the only thing you can do is “just keep swimming” and remind yourself that tomorrow will be better (and that there is wine in the fridge).