Tots and Tantrums

“Can you believe that child,” I’ve said to many a friend. “And the mom. Surely she can control her child better! When I have kids, they’ll never behave like that.” That was something I’d say when in the ear-presence of a screaming child. My eyes would roll, my friend would nod in agreement, and we’d hustle to get out of ear shot as soon as we could. Both of us swearing that our children would never exhibit such behaviour.

Never say never, right? It’s funny how outlooks change once you have a child. As my daughter edges closer to the age of two and the “terrible twos,” I realize that I’m in store for some tantrums. Heck, she’s already thrown a few, including one in the  mall where she sat down on the floor, refusing to get up and cried her little heart out. When placed in her stroller, legs kicking of course, she continued to wail. Me, I figured that every other mom or dad in earshot would understand and perhaps feel empathy for my situation. But I knew all those without a little one would be staring at me, rolling their eyes and making snarky comments. All I could do was continue on and laugh quietly at my former self.

The tantrum didn’t last long and when she was done, we hugged and kissed.  After all, a tantrum is one of the few ways a young child expresses their frustration or anger with us until they know the words to do otherwise. They don’t love us any less, nor us them. So I don’t get mad when she gets mad. Rather, I take a deep breath (sometimes it’s a few deep breathes), then see what can ease her frustration, which can be anything from a hug, to a distraction, to letting her be and simply air her emotions.

Besides, I know that the tantrum stage will pass. Before I know it, there will be stomping of feet, arms crossing, a big pouty face and a door shutting loudly. Not slamming of course, not my child, ever. (Mom, stop laughing!)

Temper tantrums stink. No ifs, ands, or buts. They’re just starting with my little one. Mostly so far they’re over food – when she’s hungry she wants to eat NOW. No matter that I have to actually mix the rice cereal.

I’ve been lucky that my child hasn’t had the meltdown in public. Yet. Oh I know its coming. It’s inevitable. But how I hope to handle it is to quietly remind her that she shouldn’t be screaming in public and to try to relax. Once that doesn’t work I plan on removing her from the situation, be it outside the store, to the car, etc.

Am I crazy enough to think that’s going to work all the time? No way. Kids get tired, hungry, angry, and frustrated just like the rest of us. But I know from experience that hearing your child scream and cry is one thing, because sometimes we can tune it out. Hearing someone else’s child scream and cry is a whole other story.

My place of employment is one where we get a lot of children. And what gets most of us isn’t the fact that the child is screaming. It’s that the parent is plainly blocking them out and isn’t trying to rectify the situation. I have tons of empathy for the mother who seems worn down and just can’t seem to take anymore. I have zero empathy for the mother who is talking on her cell phone while Johnny is standing in the aisle screaming “I want it, I want it, I want it!!”

Sometimes we push the kids to get all the errands in one shot and what they need is to nap or eat. That’s our fault as adults. We need to make time for the kids to be kids instead of running them all over the place. Some of my most relaxing times, believe it or not, are grocery shopping. That’s because I don’t take my daughter. Not only because I don’t want to deal with her grabbing things off the shelves but also because I know an hour in the shopping cart might just set her over the edge. I also try to time our play dates and other errands around her nap. Sure that means that sometimes I don’t leave the house until 2 hours after I planned on leaving but I also have a calmer, cheerier child. Which makes for a good day.


3 responses to this post.

  1. I don’t know If I said it already but …Great site…keep up the good work. 🙂 I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks, 🙂

    A definite great read..Jim Bean


  2. Posted by yinmama on October 5, 2009 at 12:05 am

    Thanks so much! We’re writing for ourselves as much as for you guys so it’s wonderful to know that you find it interesting. We don’t get to post as regularly as we’d like, since we’re moms of children under 3 but stay tuned for some posts we hope are entertaining and make you think too.


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