How do you deal with toddler tantrums? Actually, are they really toddler tantrums? My baby has them and my five year old has them. In fact, I have them too.
I *almost* had one this morning when the google maps app thing on my iPhone 1) went mysteriously silent so I couldn’t hear the directions but had to assimilate them into my being while driving and 2) Took me on a weird, ill-thought out goose chase to a house which was less than 10 minutes’ drive away but nestled, camouflaged, in a maze of tiny streets.
It’s the small things that derail you when you are trying to hold your shit together as a parent. God, kids are really cute and all – I mean, they are ridiculously cute with their baby bellies and their lispy half-baked sentences – but there’s nothing adorable about tantrums. This morning, I was treading on eggshells, terrified of upsetting the three-year-old because I have a cold and therefore my coping strategies are down. It didn’t work, he pulled a record of one tantrum every few minutes or so for the whole first shaky hour of the day.
I’ve learned that if I lose it after he loses it, he will lose it even more and we will be upping each other on our losing it into infinity. It’s no good. Meanwhile, endless patience sometimes feels like giving in. He’s being unreasonable, and bossing me around. I could be raising a brat. Both of my older boys do this ‘Uggggggh’ guttural sound when they are angry, which they ape directly from me. I mean, these children just copy us a lot of the time. Yes, they have those absurd and explosive tantrums unique to toddlers, but they are still little carbon copies of us.
It shocks me that many of the reactions I have to my own children are precisely the ones my mother had with me. We imprint our ways of being on our children every moment we are with them and once knotted in, they are hard to unravel.
It’s a lot of pressure isn’t it?
I hang on to meditation like a life buoy in an ocean of dodgy learned behaviours, automatic reactions, and those adult-y tantrums which are so much more restrained – and so much more dangerous. I hang on to it for dear life in the belief that I will have a hope in hell of changing my brain, and therefore teaching my children a better way to be in the world.