Living life in the carpool lane..

Posts Tagged ‘temper tantrums

Yesterday, I talked about the phase of life M and I are experiencing together.

Today, let’s make a list of things I’ve learned when dealing with life as a mother to a threenager…

Don’t stay mad
I’m the type of person to hold grudges.  I’m type of person that tends to stay mad.  However, M isn’t.  She goes from super defiant to super cuddly in the matter of minutes.  I have to learn to follow her lead.  Why would I stay mad when she’s trying to be a good girl?  It’s outside my comfort zone, but I know that staying mad when she is passed the moment doesn’t do anything but cause stress for both of us.

Walk away
I do this when things get really bad.  I make sure she’s in a safe location, and I step away beyond her line of sight.  I’m always only a few steps away, but when she can’t see me, it’s a pretty big deal.  Two things can happen when I walk away.  One, she cries harder.  Two, she calms down, gets up and looks for me.  Stepping away not only helps her (sometimes), it helps me.  Stepping away for awhile helps me take a breather, maybe silently scream to myself, and regroup.

Hug
In the midst of M’s tantrums, she often goes in for a hug.  Sometimes I know she’s just deflecting.  Other times, I know she really feels bad and sincerely needs a hug.  I always make sure I don’t deny her of her hugs.  If I know she’s deflecting, I make sure to take a hold of her, and before I bring her in, I bring her face to my face, and I try to talk things out with her.  Then once I get my message across, I bring her in for the hug.  Other times, when I know that she really needs the hug, I swallow my anger, and bring her in.  It’s while we are hugging that I start to talk to her about what happened and how to fix it.  Sometimes, hugging her is hard when I’m right in the middle of feeling angry and frustrated.  However, I know that no matter how mad I feel, I’m still her mother and she needs me for comfort, even if I’m the one that seems to be causing her tears.

Break the cycle
Some days, it feels like all I do is reprimand her.  I feels like it’s one thing after another and all we do is go back and forth with each other.  Some days it seems like she’s in tears all day.  It’s days like those that I find ways to break the monotony of frustration by finding ways to praise her.  During moments of calm, I find little ways to show her she is a good girl.  I find little tasks that she can do for me so I can praise her on how well she is listening to me.  I tell her to sing a song to her sister.  I tell her to pick something up for me.  I ask her to help me out with something.  It’s those little things that break the cycle of our fighting and can sometimes lead to a calm rest of the day.  This is something I learned to do recently.  I got tired of the constant tears and I wanted to find a way to start making her feel good about herself after having a rough day.

So far, these are the things I’ve learned with dealing with “M the Threenager.”  I know as the months go by, I’ll learn more things about how to deal.  M and I are both learning.  I just wish it didn’t involve a lot of raised voices and tears!

What have you learned about dealing with your “threenager?”

Bathtime used to be one of M’s favorite times.

All I had to say was, “M, do you want to take a bath?” and she’s drop what ever she was doing and go straight to the bathtub.

Now, every time I ask her if she wants a bath I get told no.

She’ll shake her head, say, “nuh uh” and walk away.

If I ask again, she’ll say, “No, play.”

Of course, because I’m the mommy, I insist that she takes a bath, but it’s such a battle.  There’s crying and flailing.  There’s that “go limp” trick that toddlers do that make it impossible to pick them up.  There’s a lot of whining.  There’s a lot of “no no no no no!”

But once I get her in and calmed down, I can easily bathe her.  She just has to fight!

Then, once she’s in and clean, of course she wants to play in the water.

Then it becomes a battle to get her OUT of the tub..

Toddlers.. there’s no reasoning, is there?

M has been A LOT better about her tantrums.

I don’t know if she’s learning how to control herself more, or she was feeling under the weather after we got back from Hawaii (she got sick from the germs on the plane), but she’s definitely not the crazy temper-tantrum terrible two year old I was describing in some posts from earlier in September.  Refer to here, here, here, here, and here.

She’s learning to communicate.

When she doesn’t get her way, she begins to whine, but more often than not, I’m able to calm her down enough to explain to her what is going on.  Then, I can usually distract her with something else, or find a compromise since she was so good about dealing with the situation.

Who knows.  I could be totally jinxing myself and she’ll revert right back to the crazy tantrums tomorrow!

Life with a toddler is always unpredictable..

So for now, I’m enjoying this calm.

I just hope I understand you…

By the time M was about a year and a half, she was talking fairly well.  I mean, I understood her most of the time.  She was able to identify objects, particularly objects she liked or needed..

Since then, I’ve encouraged her to “use her words.”

Now that she’s older, I try to emphasize using her words, especially since she’s well into her terrible two, temper tantrum phase.

She’s been ok with it… as long as I can understand her.

Case in point:
Last night’s bath.  She wanted to go into the bath with her shirt on.  As she was climbing in, I picked her up and took her shirt off.  She wasn’t happy with that and just started crying.  I had to reason with her that she couldn’t wear her clothes into the bath.  Then, she turns to me and says something that started with an “a.”  Through her tears, she was pleading with me with using this word I could not understand.

She was using her words, but I just didn’t understand them..

I ended up sticking her in the bath and she cried for awhile, most likely from the frustration of not being understood, then she was gleefully distracted by the running water and her toys.

I felt bad.  All this time, I tell her to use her words, and when she actually does try to use them, I had no idea what she was saying. 

Sigh.. Toddler problems..

It started out easy enough.

M asked for milk.  However, since M had been sick for the past few days, all she wanted was milk.

I wanted to give her water.

Well, M wanted milk and she was going to let me know that.

She asked me for milk.  I said, “Why don’t you drink some water instead?”

Well, I apparently said a bad thing.  It was as if I told her that she can never drink any liquid ever again.  It was like I told her that she was to be thirsty for the rest of her life.

She threw herself onto the ground and screamed and cried for milk.

When she calmed down, I offered her a compromise.  Drink a little bit of water, and then I will give her milk.

She cried.

But because I’m the mommy, I gave her the water anyway.  She drank it.  And she calmed down.

So, like I promised, I started to pour her milk.

She saw me take the milk out.  She even told me that I was holding milk.  She saw me pour the milk into her sippy cup.

But, I guess she wanted it in a bottle because when I handed it to her, she was on the floor and screaming and crying again.

She turned her back on me and on the milk.

So I sat with her.  I sat with her while she pouted away from me.

After a few minutes of pouting, she put a hand on my leg.  Soon after, she snuggled up into my lap.

I hugged her for a bit, then I told her in a super calm way that what was in the sippy cup was milk.  Then I asked her if she wanted it.  In her small voice, she calmly told me yes.  So I handed her the sippy cup and she took it and drank it.

Victory for me!

There have been many small frequent meltdowns, but this one seems to be the worst.  I’d like to say that I won this battle..

If only they will only be this easy from now on…

Why is this date so significant?

Because this was the day that Little M lashed out at me in anger.

It’s significant because its probably the official start to the “terrible” years… sigh.  I didn’t think it would come THIS soon..

For the past few weeks she’s been showing signs of tantrums and crying fits.  This especially happens when you take something away from her that she isn’t done playing with.  She will cry, kind of get on the floor and flop around in a little fit.

On November 21st, 2012, she had gone through her diaper bag and took out her bottle of fever reducer.  Obviously, she isn’t allowed to play with that so I kindly took it away from her telling her that she couldn’t play with it because its dangerous.

She was not happy.  She started crying and throwing a tantrum.  Before she can go through a major “flop on the floor” fest, I carried her so she would stop.  She takes her little hand and hits me saying, “No!”

I handed her another toy and she was quickly over the whole ordeal, but I wasn’t.

I was devastated.  I was so sad.

Hubby said, “Don’t be sad.  She’s growing up.”

It’s up to us to make sure we wrangle that sort of behavior.  I just didn’t think that we had to start worrying about it at this point of her little life.

Generally, she’s a happy kid.  She’s a good kid.  But I know that as she’s growing and becoming more aware of her surroundings and everything else around her, I know she’s going to start thinking about more things on her own.  I know she’s going to start experimenting with behaviors and seeing how far she can get away with things.  I took my child development classes in college.  I sort of remember all those things.

I honestly didn’t think this stuff was going to happen so soon..

How old was your toddler when they started showing signs of the “terrible” years?  Did it really start at “terrible two” or much sooner?


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