Friday, February 5, 2016

Tantrums.

I naively believed so many things before I became a mom that have now proven to be drastically untrue. A few of those things were:

"I will be such a great mom that my child will not throw tantrums. Or rarely, if they absolutely must."

"My child will never throw a loud fit in public."

"If my child were to ever throw a tantrum, my educational background, calm voice, and amazing soothing techniques will immediately cease said hypothetical tantrum."

Oh, the internal laughs I now send to my old self.

Norah is now 15 months, and has begun throwing tantrums. Disclaimer: They really aren't that often and they aren't that bad. Usually. And no matter how many she throws, I still think she is the cutest and best in the whole world. :)

That said, I told Kley at lunch today that I was feeling guilty for liking Norah less, if that makes sense. I said that she isn't a cute, rolly polly, smiles for cute pictures all the time, stays relatively in the same spot infant anymore. I obviously still love her the same (and always will), but there are times where she will throw a fit for an unknown reason and it's really not enjoyable. In most cases (definitely not all), you can identify why a newborn/infant is crying. (Not talking about colic or other things like that, just normal hunger and things l Not so with a toddler. Or, you may be able to figure out the reason, but it's the most ridiculous reason you could think of.

(At this time, you absolutely should take a break from reading this post to view Reasons my kid is crying for awesome laughs.)

I don't mean to say at all that I don't like my own child, because overall I absolutely do. But, as she is getting older, she is becoming more of her own person, and since we are all sinful, her sinfulness is manifesting itself more. When Norah throws a tantrum, her personality is not pleasant to be around, as I'm sure other parents have to agree with me on, right? But am I pleasant to be around all the time? No. Just ask Kley. (He would probably tell you I am because he's just so nice, but it's not true.) Thank goodness for forgiveness, grace, and mercy, because we are all pretty unlovable at times!

My problem with this is that I don't know what to do. Before I had Norah, I was a preschool teacher for three years- one year in a two-year-old class and two years in a three-year-old class. I am very familiar with tantrums, just not one-year-old tantrums. A one-year-old does not have the reasoning capabilities of a three-year-old. I can tell a three-year-old who is screaming that he doesn't want to put his coat on, that he won't be able to go outside and play with the rest of his friends until he does so and he can understand that. Norah is young enough that I cannot reason with her at all.

So, for anyone who has a one-year-old, what do you do? How to you handle the tantrums? Most of Norah's tantrums are fairly mild and she can be pretty easily redirected to something else. But, she has thrown a few that were big enough that she didn't calm down for awhile and I basically had to just ride it out until it was over. For instance, today at lunch she got so upset that I wouldn't let her throw my glass bowl (containing my food, not hers), onto the floor.

I think of Proverbs 22:6, where it says, 'Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it." I think this is an excellent verse to remind myself of in the tantrum moments. It's so easy to get wrapped up in this day that can feel so long, but who do I want Norah to be when she grows up? What character traits to I want her to display? How do I want her to act as an adult?

It's good perspective to keep in mind because these moments when they are so young really do matter so much. What a great responsibility and privilege it is to be entrusted with one of God's children to train up in His ways. What I am doing now is helping shape Norah into who she will be when she is older.

I think the best way I can handle tantrum times is to not throw a tantrum myself- whether that's yelling, sighing, speaking harshly, making angry facial expressions, or simply having a bad attitude in my mind. I know I will fail at that, but I want to speak as calmly as I can, walk away if I feel too frustrated (barring that Norah is in a safe place, of course), and talk about the issue after they are calm, if necessary.

I definitely don't have the answers, but I'm going to try my best and learn along the way!

4 comments:

  1. Yes to all of the above! As you know, since you spend time with Ainsley, we haven't really gotten to the tantrum stage yet, but I'm sure it's just around the corner as she gets more aware and opinionated about things she wants and doesn't want. I can say that from outside observation you're doing a great job and Norah really is a lovely, sweet and well-behaved child. Hopefully others chime in with advice because I would love to hear what they have to say!

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    1. Yes, I have yet to see Ainsley throw a tantrum, but I'm sure it's to come! I'm so glad her and Norah love each other so much, but I bet we will have some sister-like squabbles coming soon! Thanks for the encouragement! You are doing such a great job too and so glad we can talk about motherhood together!

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  2. I can only offer what little I know being only a mom for less than 4 years... But I know they say not to give in or they will figure out how to get their way! Ignoring it completely is easier said than done but if they figure out with time that it doesn't help hopefully they just stop! Keep it up Kelsey! I agree w Madison, you are a great mom! So thankful moms have a healthy helpful network!!

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    1. Good reminder/advice about not giving in! So important! I, too, am so thankful for a healthy mom network- couldn't do it without it!

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