I have never had patience. I have always wanted things when I wanted them. I would be an irritable, grumpy girl if things didn’t happen my way. Being highly pampered and from a nuclear family setup, my family never really stretched my patience levels. In other not so polite words, I was a spoiled rotten.
Then one fine day, my little princess was born. She took to being a princess really, seriously. She had a way to push me off my pedestal, onto my knees and at her beck and call, even before she could turn over.
It was all cute and fun, initially. I loved doing things for her and she would be so cute about it. But then came the Terrible Two’s. I had heard a lot about it but nothing really prepared me for them.
Everything has to happen as soon as she thinks about it. Telling about it is old fashioned, apparently. She just needs to get one disapproving look before turning red and willing fat tear drops out of the big brown eyes. Who wouldn’t melt at that?
Wait a minute! Mommy shouldn’t be her daughter’s minion. I need to set some limits. It was adorable to have her first superstore tantrum and seeing everyone else’s looks at me was amusing too. But as everything does, it was getting to me too. I wanted to yell or do something to set her into limits.
I was immediately reminded of two things I had promised myself:
- I would never yell at her.
- I would never ever raise a hand or be physical in any form as punishment.
This was going to take patience. Oops! Where do they sell that? I wish they do. But then I have to work around what I have.
Now this is what I do whenever I get the infamous toddler tantrum:
Firstly, I IGNORE. Royally so. I would make sure, she isn’t in a position to hurt herself in any way and then IGNORE. This usually works as usually a tantrum is an attention seeking measure. Then she looks for other ways to get my attention.
This works wonders, usually. But for bigger meltdowns we have our second method. DISTRACTION. I, usually, start dancing or sing a real funny song or do both using songs like the ‘hokey pokey’! It works after a few minutes of persuading. No toddler can resist some fun. Yes! It makes me look ridiculous, so I never do this outside the house.
For those huge meltdowns of epic proportions, we have a TIMEOUT. She gets to go into her room and think about it for some time. She is really scared of TIMEOUTS. I would not know why. But it works. Most of the times, we just have to say the words to quieten the thunders to quieter wails. That’s the time to reason with her.
Tantrums in public places are the most difficult to handle. Toddlers generally know that we are most vulnerable outside. Everyone wants their children to behave themselves outside. Everyone is scared of being judged as a bad parent otherwise.
Mostly, I pick up the yelling child and take her to a quieter place and do everything above. It takes a lot of patience and a thick skin. Who cares what strange people in the mall think? That’s the attitude needed. The tantrum won’t last long then.
I have realised that when I became a mother, I got some hidden patience levels. But they are still low. I work on them. Sometimes, none of the above ways work. Sometimes, I just want to yell bad. That’s when I go into the bathroom and lock myself till I calm down. I come out a lot better and also keep up my promises. Obviously, the lockout alone time for me is also limited. We can never leave a 2-year-old alone.
But tantrums aside, my princess also gives me enough cute mushy moments to get by. That’s all that matters at the end of the day, isn’t it?
How do you deal with tantrums? I would love to know new ways.
An erstwhile Quality Analyst, Sirisha Achanta, is now a full-time mommy to an adorable 2-year-old girl and a part-time writer. 🙂 She loves to dance, dream and read a lot!