Whew, this week has been a doozy with my little wonder because this week, he started the "terrible twos" - only he is eighteen months old. I have never liked the term terrible twos because it
never seemed to work out that my kids were terrible at two. In fact, with my two older children, four was by far my most miserable preschool year to the best of my recollection. But my newest addition has decided to take the twos and me,
It started simply enough, we were playing outside and it was time to cook dinner. I asked him to
go with me inside, and I was met with a resounding, "NO!" Then, I told him that I was going to pick him up to take him inside anyway. That is when it happened. I picked up my blonde angel, and the shrieks of a hundred
banshees came out of that little mouth! I couldn't believe it - I actually busted out laughing (bad idea), which just caused him to scream OOWWWW, OOWWWW as if he had fallen down and hurt himself. I can tell you that his lungs are
working just fine!
What precipitated this disagreement was not a missed nap or a missed snack, which can sometimes even send adults into fits. It was just his little way of saying I want to be the boss of me, and I don't
have the words to tell you that just yet. So it seems that I am doomed to fess up to the fact that either my first two really are the angels that I remember them to be, or selective memory has taken over my crowded mind! Either way, I
had to come up with some battle strategies for those less than ideal moments.
First and foremost, keep in mind that you are the adult, and that your child is counting on you to help them out of a state that no one truly wants to be in. The second tidbit to remember is that
joining in the yelling rarely has any effect, other than making the whole situation worse. And, while I can appreciate the need for a breather on your part, let your child know in a calm manner that you are going to step into the next
room for a moment instead of turning your back and stomping out, which makes the child feel abandoned.
Of course (I hope) that you know that it is not a good idea to cave into demands of a screaming
toddler. This type of action, while tempting in public situations, only reinforces that tantrums will eventually get your child what he desires. And, in the process makes the likelihood of future tantrums guaranteed. A better idea would
be taking the child outside, or to a restroom to finish the venting, and then starting over.
Knowing your toddler's temperament can help you head off these outbursts at the pass, and always be aware of signs of stress. Frustration, and the inability to express it, is behind most tantrums. And,
keep in mind that if there are large changes in your child's life such as divorce or a move, she will be more likely to have meltdowns. Sometimes just sitting with your child and holding them is all that they need, and sometimes the
tantrum has to burn out on its own. Either way, in the midst of an out and out fit, try to remember that the good far outweighs the bad, and that soon enough your precious angel will replace her tears and shrieks with smiles and
giggles. Good luck - I think we are all going to need it!