From the first footstomp – how to deal with temper tantrums

First year foot stomping

Terrible Twos

The Threenager …whatever next!

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When your little person starts evolving their character, the first thing that comes through is their fighting spirit. They fight their nappy changes, some fight bathtime, putting clothes on, taking clothes off, mealtimes, sitting down, pretty much everything! When they don’t get their own way they get the rage and the very first foot stomp is born. It’s cute and kind of funny for a little while then it just gets exhausting. It feels like they are fighting life in general and you will run out of steam long before they do!

 

Temper tantrums. As they head towards two they get some balls! They start to whine. It drives a saint to drink! They seem hell bent on doing the exact opposite of what you want/need them to be doing. They thrive on chaos and seem unimpressed at any attempt to divert them from their mission. This is a battle of wills and some days you admit defeat. They can sense your weakness and take full advantage – and do you know what I’ve realised? It’s ok to not be consistant. SHOCKER. All the parentng books and everyone who’s anyone will tell you different. That they need constant boundaries or else they walk all over you. Sure. But I honestly think if I fought them every day I would come off the worst. Pick your battles. Not everything is worth the aggro!

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Along comes their third birthday and the massive influx of hormones. You get bipolar swings of emotion. Cries of ‘it’s so unfair!’ ‘I don’t like you anymore’ and major huffing can be achieved before breakfast! I was in no way prepared for any of this ..and pretty much feel that there should be some form of field manual – like a soldier would get going into battle! You don’t understand them. In no way shape or form can you get a tiny human whos entire world has come crashing down because they got the red cup instead of the blue cup! Take a breathe and try and remember how cute they are when not acting like a devil – and remember the mantra ‘it will get better!’

 

Discipline. It’s like a dirty word in sime circles and what one parent does will get raised eyebrows and many whatsapp messages exclaiming the rights and wrongs of the naughty step versus positive parenting.

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Keeping him out of mischief

It was around one year old that both my son and daughter first became aquainted with the naughty step. One minute of time out away from the activity. For my son it worked. Not so much so far for my strong willed daugher. I remove them from situations when they are aggressive, rude or acting in a manner I won’t tollerate. They get a ‘chat’ about why I have removed them and what will make the situation resolve itself.

They get the occassional slapped hand. Mostly when they are doing/about to do something dangerous. Smacking isn’t something that’s worked for me. My son got a few smacked bums but it neither made his behaviour change or seemed to resolve anything. Much better to take him away from whatever we were doing.

 

As my son approached his second birthday I removed favourite toys when he behaved badly. At this point he had started to really attach to stuff so it was a big deal. The hardest thing is trying not to make empty threats. It’s so easy to say you are going to bin something if they dont stop doing x/y/z but in fairness, few of us would bin an expensive toy. Same as saying you won’t go to an event if they don’t behave – it usually backfires and you take them anyway because you want to go or you have to follow through and are both left feeling deflated. (So much easier said than done as the threats will come spewing out before you know what you’re saying , and you will mentally slap yourself for saying some things!)

 

As we approached the threes I moved into major threat territory and ‘the man’. This mysterious, exotic creature became a reality for all things I needed. ‘If you don’t sit in the shopping trolley nicely ‘the man’ will come and speak to you.’ ‘If you don’t hold mummys hand nicely ‘the man’ will come and take you away’ ‘ If you don’t behave and stop throwing your toys ‘the man’ will come’. It’s endless and for a short time I think all I manged to do was instill a fear in my son of this fantasy man. I have heard people using the police as a deterent and have actually done it myself but I dont want the police to become something to be too scared of. Its so difficult.

 

Because both my kids are polar opposites it’s funny for me to hear people warning other parents about what they have to look forward to. I keep thinking, maybe they won’t! And maybe some mums just secretly get pleasure from thinking that the smug faced mum with her sleeps all night baby (yes me with no2) will get her cummupance when said baby turns 3 and she is the one chasing mental toddler around while the other mums sip their tea and roll thier eyes – we are a lovely bunch us mums aren’t we?!

 

So what’s next for us …I’ve heard rumours of the ‘fecking fours’ and the ‘for gods sake fives’ who knows?! As with every other stage I’m sure we will cope – I may need to win the lotto to cope with the added wine consumption!

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What’s been your worst stage yet? Has everyone put the fear into you about what’s to come? Is discipline a mindfield for you too?

 

Pam.xxx

 

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