Quiet minds cannot be perplexed or frightened but go on in fortune or misfortune at their own private pace, like a clock during a thunderstorm.
Robert Louis Stevenson
We all know the story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and I’m going to take a wild stab in the dark, and say if you have kids, you know exactly what I’m about to talk about. Many refer to it as the terrible twos, or temper tantrums, just so we’re on the same page, I describe this delightful time as the zombie apocalypse! Well I would wouldn’t I.
Your beautiful child is all sweetness and smiles one second, and the next, you have a screaming, salivating monster, not unlike the Tazmanian Devil, hell bent on smashing through whatever gets in their way. You included.
Your child’s temper tantrum, is a scary experience for both you and your child, and the key to dealing with it, is to nip it in the bud, as soon as possible. You need to be watching for you child’s tells, those little signs that tell you an episode will be on the cards very soon, like turning their heads around 360 degrees and then projectile vomiting pea green soup across the room. That sort of stuff.
First thing first, your child’s outburst is a product of their emotions bubbling up, and poor communication skills. Yes, your two year old can string a dozen words together in a single sentence, but explaining his or her feelings requires a much more nuanced understanding of language, and this is where the frustration begins. Not being able to communicate these strange new feelings to you adequately leads them to these outbursts.
Your precious little angel has been ill all week, and you are tired beyond belief. Work has been especially hard, and you have a cold coming on to boot. It looks like the worst is over for your offspring, and then BOOM! A stomach bug hits, he has a sore bum, and there’s no way on earth he’s going to let you clean him up. “Damien” lashes out, with arms and legs, screaming his lungs out, as you wrestle with your young un, trying to contain another sh*tty nappy, from spilling out all over you and your lovely leather couch. Instinct takes ahold and the words lingering on the tip of your tongue are enough to make your mother blush.
This is the point where I put a smile on my face, and sing a nursery rhyme, hum a soothing lullaby to my little “angel”, or in my house, there is always a toy of some description within arms reach, and this, along with some enthusiastic enquiring words as to the nature of said toy, is usually enough of a distraction to get the job finished.
The key word there is ‘distraction’. The sooner you can take their mind off what it is that’s causing them upset, the better. Be it be a different toy, or different location, the sooner the change the less likely anyone will get hurt, and the less likely you are going to respond with a negative outburst yourself, and blow the situation into a global nuclear threat.
My sons outbursts manifest in several different ways, depending on mood. First he forces his arms out and wags his finger at me, and tells me “no daddy!” All I do at this point is back up a step, smile, and tell him it’s okay. This is usually enough, but that all depends upon his level of frustration, tiredness, or hunger.
The next level up involves pushing and hitting. To combat this we use a combination of two techniques. The first is to let him know that this behaviour “makes daddy sad”. I accompany this with an exaggerated sad face, (which is extremely hard), and prompt for an apology. The second part is the message of “kind hands”. We explain that kind hands don’t push or hit, and we play a game with a ‘push pillow’.
The push pillow is an old cot mattress with a happy face on one side, and a sad face on the other. When pushing starts, we bring out the pillow and show the sad face, and emphasise pushing “makes daddy sad”. We then show the happy face and let him ‘push’ the pillow as a fun game. We also have a square, circle, triangle, and star drawn on the happy side, and make a fun game of pushing the different shapes.
You can probably guess from the picture above, and I’m pretty sure I’ve blogged about it before, we’ve had a problem with biting. For us, the biting occurs when JB gets over excited. It usually starts with lots of happy, running around and around, which then turns into bumping into mummy and daddy, then finally the gnashers appear.
This book has been a godsend, and if you’re having the same trouble, I can’t recommend it enough. The message here is, as it says on the tin, “teeth are not for biting”. It shows your child that biting makes people sad, and it gives them some ideas of what to do when they feel the need to bite, such as a cold drink, or a good old cuddle.
Teeth Are Not For Biting belongs in your arsenal if you are having a problem, hit the link and for a fiver it’s yours.
Fear not my fellow parents. You are not alone with your child’s tantrums. If these ideas don’t quite work for you why not visit this post from Honestmum’s website. Tips For Tantrums has a host of ideas from other parent bloggers like myself.
I hope this post has been of some help to you.
Have you any tips that have worked for you? Please share them here in comments, in the hope that we can help others.
Be dobby, smeck grimly, and skvat jeezny by the sharries droogs!
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