Tantrums are hilarious. Okay, I know what you’re thinking. How the hell is it funny when my child throws a temper tantrum??? Well, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. One thing I’ve learned about tantrums and fits, if you don’t find them funny, they’ll just drive you fucking nuts. You’ll lose your temper, or worse, give into the fits and teach your child they work. If you can learn to laugh(silently of course. The last thing you want is your toddler knowing you find it funny….), they will be less frustrating, and a bit easier to deal with.
My son could win a fucking Oscar when he throws his fits. It’s a level of dramatic that I didn’t even think a two-year old could posses.
It starts with me telling him no, or by telling him to be nice to the cats, or scolding him for kicking my laptop because I wouldn’t let him sit in my lap. First, he sticks out that bottom lip. This boy can pout like no other. It’s the greatest combination of sad and funny I’ve ever seen. Then he flips the switch from sadness to anger. He plops on the floor, slooooowly rolls over on the floor, careful not to bang his head on the floor too hard. He rolls a few times, letting out his fake cry. He looks over to see my reaction, which is a blank face. Then he rolls in the other direction. He looks again, and screams in my direction. He then bangs his head hard on the floor, and runs over to me to console him because he has now hurt himself.
These are his manipulative fits. Yes, I know there are a lot of attachment parenting parents that refuse to believe there is such a thing. A lot of these parents think the only kind of fits there are, are frustration fits. And to those people, I say fuck you. Also, spend 24 hours with my kid. You’ll change your mind.
When your kid throws a manipulative fit, the best thing you can do is completely ignore it. It doesn’t mean they’re going to stop doing it. But they’re going to recognize that throwing said fit won’t get them what they want. They will probably throw less fits than they would if you either gave into them, or gave them attention. If they happen to truly hurt themselves and come to you for comfort, that’s the only time I would advise reacting to their fit or giving them attention during a fit. After they have calmed down, it’s best to verbalize with them about reasons not to throw tantrums. Remind them that when they throw a fit they hurt themselves. Or that throwing a fit, or hitting(or pinching…or biting…) is not going to get them what they want. I always tell my son that if he wants something, he needs to say please.
Such a sad, pathetic face!
My son doesn’t usually have fits out of frustration. He doesn’t talk much, but he is very good at communicating to me what he wants. On the occasion that he is throwing a frustration fit, I get down on my knees to his level and very calmly ask him what’s wrong. I know he’s not going to suddenly have a grasp for the English language and clearly tell me what he wants, but when you ask your toddler questions while they are throwing one of these fits, it encourages them to try to communicate better. I make hand gestures at him to see if that’s what he might want(like putting my fingers to my mouth to signify eating), or point to certain objects that he might want to interact with to see if that’s what he might want(like the TV, or to his favorite toy). But the most important thing to do along with showing them their options visually, is to speak very clearly as to what you’re suggesting. When they want to communicate, and they are having a hard time doing so, the worst thing you could do is continue to use baby talk. I’m all for baby talk, when they are babies. But at some point you gotta cut that shit out!
The best way to minimize fit throwing is to actively teach your child to communicate. I noticed that most kids(the ones that aren’t spoiled brats) throw less fits around the age that they have good speech and are better at showing you what they want(when you can understand it, anyway).
The best thing you can do, for yourself and for you child, is to always stay calm when they do throw a tantrum, whether it’s a manipulative or a frustration tantrum. As soon as they see you frustrated over the situation, you can forget about that fire going out any time soon. It just makes it worse. Staying calm and being proactive about simmering them down shows them that you mean business, whether it works in their favor or not.