For some time now, I am going through a very challenging period as a mother. My two and a half year old boy is having a lot of temper tantrum moments. I feel I’m having a meltdown. I’m going crazy and crazier. But I found some ways to manage this period and I want to share them with you. Maybe you will find them useful.
Here is an example of how I often start my day:
“It’s morning and my alarm clock app rings. I have to wake up my son and help him getting ready for kindergarten in half an hour, so my husband can take him on his way to work. While he sits on his potty I begin to dress him for kindergarten. Now the “brushing your teeth moment” comes. He doesn’t want to do it and so the kicking and screaming chaos begins. Sometimes he even hits me. My child seems out of his mind and the more he screams, the more I start to have my own meltdown. I scream back at him, yelling at him to stop kicking and to brush his teeth, but I don’t have such luck. Another day is starting and my son seems to make it worse. He goes to kindergarten without having his teeth cleaned.”
I feel like I’m going crazy with these temper tantrum moments. I know I have to be calmer. This way I can show him how to be calm as well. Me and my husband are the best examples for my kid. My self-control takes over me as I try really hard not to spank him. If I would spank him and hit him, I would show him that this type of behavior is ok and I don’t want that. I know I have a lot to learn, and find a better way to deal with these temper tantrums.
The thing is that my kid doesn’t know how to express his feelings and he shows when he’s upset or frustrated through these temper tantrums. I also see how my child wants more independence, more than he is capable of gaining. This must be frustrating. He just didn’t developed good coping skills, not just yet. I must teach him how to deal with frustration and, over time, this crazy period will decrease or, maybe, even end.
My kid started having these temper tantrums when we decided it was time to end the pacifier habit. Of course he had temper tantrums before, but the tantrums were easier to calm with the help of a pacifier.
I know that temper tantrums are a normal thing in the development of a child. I also know that some kids have tantrums often and other rarely. My son is one of the kids that have often tantrums. There is a long way before the tantrums will decrease in intensity and will end. I expect that this will happen around age 4.
Here are some rules to take into account that will help in avoiding and managing these tantrums that worked for me:
- Pay attention to your kid’s activity. Praise him when he is good and give him positive attention.
- If he wants control, give him control. Of course not for dangerous stuff, but give him control over little things. Let him make minor choices. For example, in the morning he could choose what to drink, tea or milk.
- Offer him a distraction. Offer him something else in place of what he can’t have, a new activity instead of the forbidden one.
- Be careful and observe your child’s limits. If he is too tired, don’t take him shopping.
- DON’T GIVE IN. I find this rule to be the most important one. Kids tend to always test your limits. Do not reward his behavior by giving in. This will only show him that the tantrum was effective. After he calmed down, give him a hug and show him that he is loved.
As your child will learn to communicate better and cope with frustration, we will all be happier parents.