I never thought in a million and one years I would experience the so-called temper tantrum. I never thought they existed, and were more a discipline problem. I don’t like to label children at such a young age, but many call it the “terrible twos.” I truly believe that toddlers try to push the limits and establish independence. That is the theoretical approach.
But right now, as the mother of a two year old, I feel defeated at times. What I know to be true and what I feel are two different concepts. Nevertheless, I have faith that this too shall pass.
I remind myself that I became a mother at the ripe age of 40. Before I had children, I thought my patience level was extremely high and I could endure the growing pains of raising a toddler. My son, Troy Jr., tests my patience and then some. Most of the time, the temper tantrums are one take from a one-act play. The kicking, screaming, crying, and aggression is a bit much. I had step back and look at few reasons why the tantrums were happening and how to respond.
For a moment there I thought he wasn’t my son. What have I done? Did I not spend enough skin-to-skin time with him? Did I move him off my lap too soon? He and his baby sister are 12 months and one day apart. Did having his sister take away from his time with me as a baby? I asked myself all these questions, with no answer in sight. There must be a reason he is responding this way. Then I remind myself he is trying to push the limits and establish independence.
When that doesn’t work, I try the following steps:
- Take a deep breath. I want to make sure my response is appropriate and is not out of frustration. When he acts out, I need to remain calm.
- Pray. I need strength and patience to respond properly and appropriate. I am the mother and I am the parent. The is not up for negotiation. Prayer helps to settle my thoughts and help to control my actions.
- Communicate. I first let my son know that this not acceptable behavior by saying, “Troy that’s a no-no. We don’t act that way.” I then encourage him to use his words to communicate to me what his wants or needs are. He is two and has a great vocabulary. I want to encourage that.
- Hold him close. When the tantrums are severe, I like to hold him close and help bring down the physical response. Then he falls out in my arms crying. I just talk and hold him close. This seems to help.
I know that Troy Jr. is trying to find his way around his emotions at two years old. As his mother, I want to guide him to a healthy way of expressing his dislike, anger, or disappointment. I know at his age he does have the words to tell me. Acknowledging this allows me to continue to extend grace to my first born. I know that I need grace, which is new everyday. Then I encourage myself to remember, this, too, shall pass.