It isn’t every day, or all day, but they strike. And they strike with a terrible fury. They are the terrible threes.
And they’ve gotten a hold of my daughter Alison. And they are either on or off.
Some days Alison is a perfect, sweet, helpful, funny, happy child, obeying orders and not throwing much of a fit about anything.
But then the next day comes and she’ll be a terrible three-year old, crying and complaining about everything, begging to do everything herself, while in the same breath proclaiming “I can’t.” She doesn’t want to obey. She doesn’t want to listen. She will cry, loudly, for her to get what she wants, and now. Sometimes she protests by simply lying on the floor.
And sometimes these awesome outburst are public. On Saturday, I was the mother of a screaming child being drug along the floor. She was apparently done walking, lost one of her shoes, demanded that she put it on herself, then refused to put it on by herself, then protested even louder, kicking and screaming, as I forced that little flip-flop on to her foot, all while wearing my five month old son on my chest in a baby carrier. I’m sure it was quite the scene.
To resolve the tantrum, I got her over to a sitting area, and put her in time out in one of the chairs, having to pick her up and plop her back down many, many times over.
By the time she sat/stood by the chair and calmed down for three minutes, she was no longer crying, and were able to talk about how her behavior was not okay. She agreed it wasn’t. She didn’t want to hold my hand at first, but stayed by me as we made our way through the mall. When we came past those darn spinning child’s toy, she faltered some, but I was able to coax her off of it without a fuss.
Right before we made it out the mall doors, we were holding hands, and Alison looked up at me and said, “Mom, I’m happy.”
Melt my heart.
I asked to see a smile, and like the doll she can be, gave me her biggest, cheesiest, happiest grin, saying again, “I’m happy.”
I love my daughters, even when they are throwing fits and tantrums in the middle of the mall, or for an hour straight at home. I love them even when they are screaming in my ear, telling me they hate me, kicking, slapping, pulling, or thrashing. But, it isn’t fun. At all. But, I still love them.
So, what I really love is how quickly they can get over things. If only we as parents could as well. But, it seems so much harder for us to do so! I can stay a little mad at my kids for a long while. That 9am temper tantrum can just set me up for a day of impatience with my family. And I hate it. I hate being that way.
Maybe, I need to be more like my kids, being able to turn that tantrum on and off, being able to move on. While I perhaps shouldn’t turn that switch to ON in the first place, I do. I just hope in the future that switch can be more like a flicker.
How do you handle your child’s temper tantrums? Have you learned anything from them as a parent?