Thursday, January 30, 2014

A Top 3 Tantrum

Quinn threw an epic tantrum today. Definitely top 3. Maybe even number 1.

She seemed a bit edgy when we left their preschool today at 11:30. I got them into the car quickly, but within a minute, she was screaming. I wasn't even sure why. She started kicking the back of my seat with her dirty, snowy boots. She then started eating the brown snow off of them. When we got home I put her into the house first and went back out to get the rest of the stuff and a now screaming Teagan. Wasn't sure about that one either, but I suspect tiredness. When I walked back into the house, Quinn was flipping out. I tried taking off her snow pants, but she screamed louder and wanted them on. I got Teagan unchanged quickly and put her in the living room screaming as well.

It was 2 against 1 in the worst way. The boys ran for cover in the basement.

Since it was going to be impossible to comfort both effectively at the same time, I grabbed Teagan for a hug first. She was only in minor tantrum mode so I knew that it would be easier to stop. She wanted to put on her pjs. I took two screaming toddlers upstairs and changed T's diaper and let her pick out some pjs. She finally stopped. Q was next. I grabbed her and held her tight. She bucked and flailed her arms so strongly that she almost went over my shoulder and landing on her head. I continued to hold her tightly telling her that I knew she was having a hard time and I was there for her. She eventually calmed down enough to tell me through hiccups and tears that she wanted to wear her reindeer pjs. I put them on her and she immediately jumped into bed without lunch. She said that she was tired. I closed the curtains and gave her a kiss. It was done. She slept for two hours.

My parenting style has changed quite a lot in the last year. Parenting toddlers has a massive learning curve. Toddlers are also changing constantly, so we need to grow with them. Tantrums used to scare me. I didn't have a clue what to do with my screaming, out of control toddler. As a result, I would often just leave them be and let it run its course. While it didn't seem right to me, I didn't know what else to do.

About 9 months ago, I started reading Janet Lansbury's blog. It was through her blog that I realized that I needed to be a rock for my children during those meltdowns. I need to be there ally. Toddlers lose control during tantrums, which is often extremely scary to them. Whatever has set them off is an incredibly big deal to them, even if it is extremely minor in reality. As a result, I never leave them alone while they're throwing a tantrum anymore. I do the opposite. I validate their feelings. I tell them that I'm there for them. I hug them and hold them tight, especially if they've become particularly destructive.

Ever since I started validating their feelings, the frequency of tantrums has lessened, as has the duration.

Parenting two toddlers has certainly been a wild but incredibly rewarding ride. It has been the ultimate test of patience for me -- not my strongest quality for sure. But, I do feel like I'm learning and growing right along with them. Parenting isn't for the weak, as my dad says.

1 comment:

  1. Tantrums can be rough. I've read different approaches. I know that for older kids they say they can lose control and get embarrassed by their behaviour so it can be best to let them cool down in their room. I do this with our older two sometimes and it seems to work. We then discuss it afterwards. I like the idea of being there for them because, as you've said, their emotions get too big for them. I've also read to never ask why they are behaving that way and acknowledging their mood like, "Wow, you are really angry!" When they're older I've found getting them to draw how angry they are really helps them to visualize it and get over it.