Articles claiming to hold all the secrets to handling, or dealing with, toddler tantrums abound. From ones telling parents to ignore them to ones telling parents to be sensitive to their child’s feelings. You could spend hours reading up on the topic, but at the end of the day do these articles really help us?
Well, yes, and no. I’ve read some really good articles about tantrums. Hell, I even have some printed out and plastered to the walls of our pocket-sized apartment. The problem arises when the tantrum hits. My mind goes blank. I forget anything I have ever read. I forget about those damn ugly pieces of paper with such helpful words smothering the walls. I forget everything.
Or I used to forget everything. Lately I have remembered one thing, stay calm. Now, just because I remember this doesn’t mean I’m always able to stay calm, but it’s a start, right? Before the age of Gollum vs. Smeagul I never thought about what I would do when Gollum gained control. I figured what to do would just come naturally. Naturally? Parental instincts? What are those? So I began to gobble up articles on tantrums: how to handle them, how to ignore other people when they happen in public, how to set your child up for success so they don’t have a tantrum, etc.
We are 19 months into parenting and only in the last couple months have I a noticed a difference in how I’m handling them. My ability to get calm and stay calm is growing (as is my patience, but that is a whole different can of worms). Does this mean that I can now focus on other aspects of dealing with tantrums? Do I dare try and add to my repertoire of tricks? Do I adhere more articles to the walls? My fear is that if I add to much to my tool belt at once it will fall down and I will have to slowly pick it all back up.
I think about how heavy my mommy tool belt is already, and then I think about how he looks when his emotions take over. “I will do anything to help him learn to manage his emotions!” my long lost instinct screams at me. I hope someday all of the tips I’ve tried to memorize will sink in and be second nature, but until then all I can do is keep learning to handle my emotions so he can handle his.