Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Are You Done?

My toddler is in the temper tantrum stage.  This time around, I expected things to be much easier.  I remember scouring the internet and quizzing all my friends with kids when my oldest was throwing temper tantrums.  I felt so powerless and was worried that my kid would be a raving lunatic if I didn't get him under control.  We tried time-outs, hugs, taking things away and even ignoring him.  Eventually, we figured out that he was upset because he couldn't communicate what he needed.  We would say, "Use your words, tell me what you need" and he would slow down and explain.  My youngest, however, has a smaller vocabulary and bigger emotions so it has taken some finessing to get him to a good place.

Since we already knew that he was frustrated by his lack of communication skills (or our lack of understanding), we went right for the "use your words" trick.  This was a sure thing in our arsenal of parenting skills.  My little one looked at us, threw his body backward with all his strength and wailed even louder.  "WORDS!  NOOOOOO!!!!" he yelled.  Back to the drawing board.

Next we tried to ask questions.  "Do you want milk?  Are you hungry?  Did your brother steal something from you?"  Anything we could think of, we would ask.  "NO NO NO NO AAAAHHHH!!" he screamed.  The questions really really pissed him off.

So, we did what only parents who have other things to deal with would do.  We looked at him in the middle of his trantrum and asked, "Are you done yet?"  This wasn't a strategy.  We just wanted him to be done so we could move on to the next thing (Oh how I hate being honest with you sometimes).  And you know what, he stopped.  "Done!" he said as he choked back his tears.  "Yes.  Done!"  Once he was calm, I squatted down to his level and wiped away his tears.  "Good.  Now tell me what you
want and we'll figure it out together," I told him.  "Cheese, please" he said through a runny nose.  "Done," I told him.

It works every time.  We just tell him to let us know when he's done so that we can help him and he chokes back his tears to explain the misfortune that is plaguing him.  I'm not telling you this so you can try it with your kids (but if you need a strategy take it!).  I'm telling you this to say one of the things that is so hard about parenting.  You never really have it figured out.  From one child to the next, from one moment to the next, we're all throwing spaghetti at the wall and hoping it sticks.  We're doing it with love and tenderness and care most of the time but sometimes it's just dumb luck.  If you're dealing with a tough patch of bad behaviour, keep trying.  You'll figure something out, I promise.  

What resources do you turn to when you are struggling with bad behavior?  Any tips on getting through the rough patches?

1 comment:

  1. My youngest has a lot of temper tantrums too. Most of the time it has to do with him being tired or over stimulated :)

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...