A few days ago I had one of those days. We ventured out of the house (on a weekend) – my kids were well behaved, but rude people in the store (and parking lot) irritated me. From there, every small annoyance seemed to build. By the end of the day I was completely fed up. However, this irritation, ultimately, led me to this strategy for reducing toddler fits.
As much as I hate it, when I get aggravated, I’m much quicker to raise my voice with my kids. My older daughter sometimes mimics this behavior while she’s playing. This mimicry scares the crap out of me. I don’t want to raise angry kids and I don’t want them to think of me as an angry mom.
That night, when I was feeling pretty terrible about myself and my parenting skills, I went to my parenting guide (ok, I went to Pinterest). I read through a bunch of articles and was still feeling crappy when I had an “ah-ha” moment.
I have two toddlers – little girls still figuring out their emotions and how communicate their wants and needs. It is normal for them to get frustrated and throw fits (within reason). Getting angry at their anger is a bit ridiculous. It is my job as a parent to guide them and teach them how to handle their frustration.
So what did I do?
I hugged them. One of the aforementioned Pinterest articles suggested tantrums/whining stems from their need for affiliation and, if you pay attention to when this behavior occurs(the toddler fits), it often is the result of a physical connection being severed. So, when one of my kids started whining or started acting out I made a point to focus my attention more on them.
It has only been a few days, and my toddler sample size is 2, but, anecdotally, this seems to be working.
Ultimately, I can’t make my kids magically understand the world or give them access to the vocabulary they would need to tell me exactly how they feel or what they want. However, I can (as hokey as it sounds) let them know they are loved. Really, if my options are listening to whining and tantrums or give my kids more attention, it is a no-brainier.