Saturday, November 2, 2013

And T is for Tantrums

This week we have been mostly having a to-do with Tantrums. Some mild - a pouty bottom lip, an almost-tear, and some full blown almost-being-sick epic scream-athons.

General Running. Everywhere.
I had fallen into the trap of the most destructive of parenting myths - that if you're a good parent, attentive to your child's needs, there won't be tantrums, tears or any losing of sanity. Thank goodness for Elizabeth Pantley's book The No-Cry Discipline Solution - reassuring me that whilst comforting a screaming toddler on the floor of the tube, as he wanted to get out of the train in the tunnel rather than the station, I hadn't utterly failed as a parent.

Cuddle it out. Necessary for bedtimes and tantrum-times in our house.
Her book offers useful insight into the mind of the toddler, focusing on the underlying causes of the behaviour, be it tiredness, fear, hunger, rather than solely 'correcting' the behaviour itself. Now that Toddler can talk I often wrongly assume he can tell me what's wrong, that he can voice his concerns eloquently. 

General Toddler Inquisitiveness
Having myself had a meltdown at the weekend, annoyed at the lack of time for even cutting my nails, instead of voicing my concerns to my husband I sulked, moped and whined. It dawned on me that the expectations I had for my toddler were highly unrealistic - even I was terrible at communicating properly when things aren't going my way. How could I expect a toddler to accomplish something that I, as an adult, couldn't?

Thankfully Elizabeth Pantley offers a wide range of options for helping your toddler through a tantrum, from simple stuff like getting down to their level, understanding not to take their tantrum personally as an affront to your parenting, to acknowledging their emotions. 

Teaching the toddler slowly-slowly-slowly...
And most of all being there with a hug when they're ready - I can't imagine how scary it must be to be completely taken over by rage or sadness on that scale. Even if if was triggered by the fact you broke an oat cake in half instead of handing one out whole.

Pantley doesn't judge, and does offer some tools like time-out that I'm not so keen on personally (I prefer the time-in approach) but it is great to be offered a range of choices, as everyone parents differently, and what works for some will not work for others.

I would wholly recommend reading this book - it gave me a totally different perspective on how inherently challenging it is to be a toddler, and how much children need our love and understanding at all times - to be there to support them through the tricky business of growing up...

I was sent this book free to review after requesting a copy. All thoughts and opinions are my own.