|Image courtesy of Clare Bloomfield at FreeDigitalPhotos.net|
The tantrum is something that every parent has to deal with, unfortunately some more than others. For instance T threw tantrums but they were nowhere near the spectacular strops that N managed to achieve. I see it as kind of a tantrum lottery - who knows what kind of tantrum level your next little one will have!
I remember when T was 3 years old and N was just a baby, whenever she was asleep he would shush us and say "don't wake the beast" so desperate was he for some peace and quiet. I have to admit that having to cope with N's high tantrum level was a bit of a shock to the system because T just wasn't like that at all, I could always pacify him either with a toy to play with, a cuddle or just a few soft words. N on the other hand could not be talked to, looked at and certainly not touched when she was in the middle of a meltdown because that would simply make her more angry.
I'm sad to say that it took me a quite a long time to learn how to handle N when she was throwing a tantrum, I think because my natural instinct was to hold her and comfort her, but unfortunately that was not what she wanted or needed at that time. I just had to make sure she was in a safe place and basically leave her alone. So I would take a step back and keep an eye on her as she screamed and shouted and threw her arms and legs around, once she had let it all out she would then be ready to come to me for a feel better cuddle. I'm not going to say it was easy to stand by and watch because I absolutely hated seeing her so upset (I would often end up in tears myself) but whenever I couldn't stop myself from trying to comfort her, the tantrum would just go on even longer. It seemed that she was a child who simply needed to get all her emotions out into the open. Now that she's nearly 9 we have a good chat if there's anything bothering her so thankfully her tantrum days are over.
But that brings me to the next chapter of our lives - I've recently noticed that E has been getting a bit stroppy if she doesn't get what she wants, not to the extent that N used to but definitely more than T did. At least I've had lots of tantrum practice now so I should be able to work out how to handle hers quite quickly (fingers crossed)!
Which tantrum-handling techniques have worked for you and your little ones? I'd love to hear from you.