Anyone who has raised or is in the process of raising kids will be familiar with the anatomy of a tantrum: the harmless trigger, an escalation of anger and violence, a raging storm, devastation in the aftermath and then blessed calm.
Bibsey, who is not yet three, is still trekking through high tantrum territory where the weather is unpredictable and stormy. Of course I am right there with her, like a Sherpa negotiating the epic emotional peaks, dragging the tantrum cushion, aka Señor León, along behind me. Sometimes I even think I have learned a thing or two, but then it seems that I am a novice again when I am hit by another Bibsey tantrum.
Here are my 5 Parental Stages of Weathering a Tantrum
Denial – no, this is surely not happening. Not here. Not now. We haven’t got time for this. We have to leave the house in the next hour. All I did was spread the Marmite on the toast soldier. I am going to ignore this outburst and perhaps it might stop.
Anger – perhaps if I shout loudly enough, she will snap out of it. Shock tactics can work. “WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS?! STOP CRYING AND JUST EAT YOUR TEA!!!” Yes it did stop her in her tracks, but only momentarily. The eye of the storm. And now she has come back with a vengeance. And I feel terrible for losing my temper. Thank god there are no hidden cameras. There aren’t any hidden cameras are there? *checks for hidden cameras*
Bargaining – I will do anything to make this stop. How about if I scrape the Marmite off the toast? No, ruined is it? Erm, what about using the ‘Shallow’ Kitty spoon? No. Maybe if Mummy were to stick her head down the toilet and flush it while singing the theme tune to Dinosaur Train?
Depression – this is useless. I am useless. What is the point of continuing to tap dance round this fickle little temper tyrant with various combinations of cutlery, crockery and culinary offerings coming out of my arse? I am defeated.
Acceptance – OK this is happening, with me or without me, so I may as well get with the programme. I have actually been here before. Why didn’t I just skip straight to this stage at the start. The tantrum, which we didn’t have time for, must run its course. Anything else would be far more time-consuming in the long run. So, here is a cushion upon which to throw yourself my darling. Cry your poor, hurt little heart out poppet, God knows it always makes me feel better, and I will see you on the other side of the storm.
Top tip: skip to acceptance. All resistance if futile.
As I was writing this my hands dawdled off into social media and I was pleased (without any hint of Schadenfreude honest) to discover that I am not the only one blogging about tantrums at the moment. Please visit Mother.Wife.Me to find out what happens when you do not take your child to John Lewis people. Brilliant.
Do you have any tips for dealing with tantrums? Is there a support group in the mountains of Southern Spain?
*Image source: ‘Trillions’ from the controversial End Times series by photographer Jill Greenberg