I wrote a post a while back about how I felt that Lily was getting her terrible twos early. They are now in full swing and my mind feels like cracking. For a child who is normally so well-behaved and fun, she has been making it feel like a hurricane!
The biggest meltdown so far has been while I was home alone with her. She had been grumpy all day, but after a nap, seemed better. I asked her if she wanted to come and play with the building blocks with me. She came over and we played nicely for about five minuets before hell broke loose. She had the biggest paddy over two blocks not fitting together. It was mind-blowing. She will normally sit there and just keep trying until she gets it, but felt the appropriate response this time was to throw them, and herself on to the floor. We also had trouble while out in town.
Lily is a good walker and for over month now, hasn’t really used her pushchair, so the other day when she kicked off at the bus station during rush hour, I had no idea what to do. I would normally put her back in her pushchair and ignore her until she calms down. Oh no. She flung herself on the floor, if I picked her up, she would hit me and just screamed the whole way home. I was embarrassed and in tears. God knows what people thought of my parenting skills. I sat down at home and just thought to myself ‘Who is this child?! I don’t know. My Lily never does that.’ That was all I could think for the rest of the day.
The nest day, I went out for a while as fresh air seemed like something that was needed and on the magazine shelf in a local shop I saw this months issue of Prima: Baby & Pregnancy and in bold type: ‘the truth about toddler tantrums’. I have never picked up a magazine as quickly as I did this one.
The article, written by psychologist Richard Woolfson was about recognising the trigger of a tantrum and dealing with it before the tantrum kicks off. For example, he said if your child regularly pulls out the DVDs on the shelf, instead of telling them off after they have done it, distract them before hand, avoiding the tantrum. They were all simple examples, yet relatable ones. For me, the trigger was the blocks not fitting together. Next time, instead of sitting there watching, I could offer to help her.
It’s hard though to always recognise those trigger points. I have had some incidents where Lily has been perfectly happy, then just isn’t. I have also been watching episodes of Super Nanny (guilty pleasure for years). We now have one of her infamous time out zones. It does work for us. She says to use it so the child can think about what they’ve have done. With Lily, she doesn’t quite understand so I will always try to explain to her, but I use the time out zone to get her to calm down. This has seemed to work, but how do you stop the tantrums all together?
One mum I asked commented that she doesn’t think they ever stop and that your child just learns to control their frustration better, then loses it again once they’re a teenager! Another pointed out that as an adult, you still get frustrated sometimes, but instead of screaming out loud, you have a tantrum in your head. This is something I feel I do regularly!
Until next time…