Friday, October 7, 2011

Tantrum time

Parenting is not always a walk in the park and I for one know that. Although my daughter has always been very easy going, patient and thoughtful there have been times over the last two year when I have wanted to tear my hair out. When Miss S was about 18 months old I started to notice a change in her behaviour. Every now and then I saw quite a strong steak of independence and random anger outbursts. I wondered if it was a sign of what was to come.

I began to read up about the phenomenon of toddler hood to try to better understand the causes of tantrums and how to keep them to a minimum. I discovered that is is caused by the child being flooded with all these new emotions that they have never had to deal with. Initially the only way to deal with these feelings is to do this AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

What an awesome picture. When Miss S threw her first tantrum I must admit I turned my head away and silently laughed. It was quite a sight. The humour of the situation subsided quite quickly for me though and depending on how often the tantrum rears its ugly head it may be easy to want to join them. Unfortunately the saying 'If you can't beat them join them' doesn't work here. 

So what do you do if you encounter the dreaded tantrum?
 - The first thing I learnt is that is is almost impossible to reason with a toddler having a tantrum. When they are in the 'zone' there is not much you can do to calm them down. However I always let Miss S know that I would love to give her a big cuddle once she has stopped yelling
 - Always make sure that the child is not going to hurt them selves or anyone else
 - The thing that I have found works best for Miss S is distraction and it usually doesn't take long to have her calm enough to have a drink of water (it does take persistence and patience)
 - Once she is serene she usually becomes a cuddle bunny, needing to be as close as possible, to reassure herself that everything is OK and mummy still loves her. 

It really is amazing to know that the best way to teach your toddler the way to handle her/his own emotions is through modelling. Makes you think twice about how you react when you stub your toe against the door doesn't it :o)

Of course the plus side of toddler hood is the new positive emotions. You toddler becomes more loving, gentle, thoughtful and compassionate. It is beautiful to see. And in the midst of a tantrum I always try to focus on the loving cuddles I am receiving more regularly from my little girl.

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