My son is 2-years old. He’s VERY two and he’s good at it. He’s exploring his world, jumping over baby gates, figuring out how to un-childproof everything I thought was childproofed and mastering the fine art of the temper-tantrum.
I’ve heard and read so much about dealing with tantrums. Sadly, most of the main-stream advice out there seems to tell parents to ignore the behavior, or even punish it. Well, that just doesn’t work in my house. If my son is crying and throwing a fit it is not over “nothing”. Sure, it might not seem like much to me, but to him it is a BIG DEAL. I have to respect that – no matter how silly or simple the tantrum trigger may be.
Currently the big trigger at our house is a train car coming off of the track. We have a huge wooden train track set up in our living room. G and my husband build a new track every few days and G spends at least an hour playing with it every day. Generally it is a great things to have in the house, except when it brings my little boy to tears! When the train that he is running over the tracks comes off the tracks (which happens ALL THE TIME) there is a 50/50 chance it will cause him to spiral into a tantrum. Screams of “TRAIN!” and “Mommy, FIX HIM!!” are shouted between incomprehensible screams. Sometimes even me placing the cars back on the track does not solve the problem. The tantrum continues.
Oh, the temper-tantrum, you are a mighty adversary, but I have found your weakness!
Doesn’t that sound way too simple? Simple but true, pulling my son on to my lap and giving him a big hug while telling him that everything is okay and explaining how we can fix his problem works almost every time. When his developing toddler-brain just can’t handle whatever life is throwing at him, just a few moments in mommy’s embrace makes a world of difference. He can clam down in a safe place, and I’ve shown him that I listen to what is bothering him and will do what I can to help.
Now I’ve said this works ALMOST every time for a reason. Sometimes even hugs can’t make things better. A few weeks ago I took G to The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, a favorite place for us, and in the lobby there were golf carts – similar to the ones that you see in airports. G lost his mind. He wanted to drive them so badly that nothing could calm him down. Not hugs, not riding in the elevator, not seeing our favorite sculpture, nothing worked. He SCREAMED and flailed to get in them; until I finally had to throw him over my shoulder and rush us out of there before security kicked us out! So hugs don’t solve EVERY tantrum, but for the every day, 2-year-old meltdown, it works pretty good.
Plus, I know that my sweet boy won’t want to be hugged by his mom forever, so I’ll take it while I can.
How do you handle tantrums?