After nearly 14 months, my son finally threw his first public temper tantrum. No doubt he would do this at a very important event-my sisters MSW pinning ceremony at Western Michigan University. He is usually very well-behaved, but what was I thinking when I assumed he would sit still for a few hours?
Lesson learned. Hands down.
Not only did he not sit still, but he also decided he’d rather run around, tear the cover off the table (numerous times), play with the drinking fountain, tear apart the programs leaving the pieces on the floor and yell, scream and kick when I tried to calm him down. He just wasn’t having it. I’m sure others waiting to be seated were silently yelling at me to remove my child from the lobby while others simply stared at me. There were a select few that just got it. It was like they were silently rooting for me telling me to stay strong while silently giving me a fist bump.
Those are the ones who truly get it.
I did try to console him, but there was no reasoning with him. There was nothing I could do but take him home and as a result, I had to miss my sisters pinning ceremony.
Sister of the year award goes too…
I think as a parent we have all experienced moments similar to mine and we find ourselves becoming frustrated and overwhelmed. We argue that we do everything for our child and just once, we’d like them to do what we want them to do.
When you become a parent, it’s no longer all about your wants and needs. Rather it’s all about our child’s wants and needs. We know that when we become parents, but we also selfishly miss the days when we didn’t have so many adult responsibilities. I chose parenthood, so the days of less adult responsibilities were long in the past.
When I got home, I was still experiencing an array of emotions ranging from guilt, anger, frustration and embarrassment. It’s then that it occurred to me that my son could probably pick up on those emotions. Even though I had tried my best to remain calm, cool and collected, I found myself questioning if I had done my best.
I looked at my son now playing happily on the living room floor, and it occurred to me that the reason he acted up was because of a combination of things. He was probably bored to an extent, and then as the lobby got busier there was just too much going on which may have been overwhelming for him. I immediately started empathizing with him and felt guilty for getting upset with him. He was a toddler with little understanding of proper behavior.
So, here are some things that I need to remember when my child is acting up.
1) Your child loves you.
Even when you get mad at them or punish them, they won’t hold a grudge. They will love you despite it all.
2) Toddlers have zero self-discipline and absolutely no conscience
Toddlers only do things that please them and are unaware of how their actions may affect other people. Therefore, we can’t logically hold their bad behavior against them. 😉
3) They eventually have to go to bed.
Even on the worst of days, there will come a time when your child will wear themselves out and have to go to bed. They can’t stay up all day, so be comfortable knowing this fact. The day will eventually come to an end.
4) Toddlers aren’t making memories.
Everything that happens now will not become memories. Don’t feel about about losing your cool from time to time for they won’t remember it anyway.
5) It’s normal.
Trust me when I tell you that you’re not the only one who has a child that acts up. It has and will happen to every parent.
6) You’re a good parent.
Don’t ever feel that your child’s acting up is a result of poor parenting. You could be the greatest or worst parent in the world, and your child will still act up from time to time. It’s how you deal with it that matters.
7) Reflect on what it took to get them here.
If you experienced infertility, like me, then it’s important that we take a minute to reflect on the journey of how we finally got our child. Think back about everything you went through, the emotional and physical pain as well as the costs associated with the dozens of doctors appointments and treatments. Now ask yourself how important the little things really are compared to having your “miracle” child act up? Doesn’t seem that big now, huh?
8) It won’t last forever.
Keep in mind that your child is still learning how to handle their emotions, and with time they will learn how to effectively communicate them to you.
9) Try to understand why they chose to act up.
Listen and be empathetic to your child’s feelings. Ask them what’s wrong and then try to resolve the issue.
10) Learn from it.
Analyzing why your child acted up may help determine ways to prevent them from acting up in the future. This will make your life much easier moving forward if you have some idea on how to avoid the situation.
11) Them acting up is great practice for handling their teen years.
What you’re experiencing now may help better prepare you for how they will be when they enter their teen years. It’s better to get started early on how to better deal with them once they enter those teen years.
12) Things could always be worse.
It’s important for us to put things into perspective from time to time. If you get easily frustrated because of your child being so active and running down the hall, keep in mind that another mother may never see her child run. Your child is healthy and happy, and you need to appreciate the things you do have and not always focus on the frustrating things.
I’m sure that I’m not the only mother out there who has gotten frustrated with my child. I may have recently just experienced his first public tantrum, but I also know that it won’t be the last so in order to keep my cool I must remember the 12 things above. Remembering these things will change my perspective on the situation and better help me handle the future situations at hand.
Remember at the end of the day, that everything is okay. You’re a good parent, your child is healthy and they love you. Don’t get down on yourself if there are frustrating days from time to time because IT’S NORMAL!!
Enjoy your child(ren) now because before you know it they will be grown, moving out and away from home and starting families of their own. Cherish every single moment you have with them whether good or bad.