Last week was our daughters second birthday. So many tears, emotions, feelings, and excitement. Two may not seem like such a big deal to some people but for me it felt like a big milestone. Maybe because I know this is the last birthday she will have as an only child, or maybe its because Im just proud of this little girl who no longer is a little babe? Not totally sure…
Anyhow, two seems like a big deal to me. Well THIS week we went to her two year checkup with our doctor and it was sure perfect timing because I was needing some input about our newest stage as of lately that comes along with TWO… The tantrum stage.
Lately this cutie above has been..
98% PERFECT + 2% TERROR
It is absolutely terrifying to see my sweet little daughter flip a switch and turn into a flailing-on-the-floor crazed monkey. I was starting to feel a little letdown and like I wasn’t doing a good job parenting. Call it the hormones, or call it mom-guilt but I may have literally sat down and cried a couple times telling my husband that I “must be doing a terrible job, why is she acting like this…” to which he would tell me that she is just going through something and trying to communicate and that it was “SIMPLY NORMAL.”
I didn’t know what was worse, the fact that it was most likely true, or that a normal two year old was simply scary. Well talking to the doctor, we told her all about our little girls gigantic tantrums and through half-laughs we told her we didn’t know what we should be trying because we felt like we have been trying everything. And then… she simply chuckled. And then we laughed. And she made us feel so much better just by telling us a few simple things.
Let me preface this with the fact that we really like our doctor, she is smart, and funny, relatable, and when we see her she actually remembers our previous visits and conversations we have spoken about. So needless to say, we feel like she knows us pretty well and we trust her and have since we picked her as our babes doctor. So here is what she said to us regarding Toddlers, Twos, and Tantrums…
- This IS normal, our daughter is just intuitive and strong-willed. As a child this will be a hard thing for parents because naturally you want your children to listen and do what is appropriate and “right” and well-behaved in your eyes; as a young adult/adult this is a powerful thing because this smart strong-willed child will demand what she knows she needs instead of just being “agreeable.” That alone is a skill that is worth harboring, not dampening.
- The best thing you can do during a throw-yourself-on-the-floor tantrum is simply make sure that she is in a safe situation, state what the correct behavior is, and calmly wait until the tantrum subsides. I know this sounds easier than it really is. And in the midst of a tantrum its very hard to remain calm and not get emotional. However, if you react with more than this, you open up a trap. The trap is a mixture of you arguing, fanning the fire, and raising the emotional state. A toddler throws a tantrum because they want something or dislike something, they do not understand why they cant get what they want, and they want you to know that they are upset they cant do what they want. Let them know “We aren’t standing on the counter, that is not safe, and when you are ready to continue playing I would love to play with you.” This lets them know the behavior isn’t ok, you aren’t feeding into it and giving them the attention, and that you are ready to have fun when they are finished with their tantrum. Eventually they will stop kicking the ground and want to play with you.
- Just do the best you can, and know that your 98% amazing child is still an amazing child the other 2%. This alone is great to hear, because in the moment when you are wanting to rip your hair out because you think its only your child that does this, its good to know you still have a sweetheart inside. Being a parent is tough, and there are so many ways to do things. As long as you are doing your best, your child will benefit and at the end of the day that is really all that matters.
These things are all things I needed to hear. My child is normal, my child is still wonderful, and all my child needs it me to remain patient. Parenting is hard. And its all OK.
So, I can tell that this year is going to be filled with many new things. I can also see MANY new tantrums, but I have to just remember that my child is a good kid, Im a good parent, Im doing my best, and all is ok… then I have to keep that in my back-pocket for a rainy afternoon when I want to lock myself in a closet because my child is crying on the floor of the doctors office because I said they couldn’t lick the door. 🙂
Also some good books that have helped me and given me lightbulb moments…
AS always, see you soon friends!