NO! – The Tantrum Anthem

I don’t think I have ever heard the word “No” so much in my life before.
It’s ironic, because it generally  comes in a sweet little person voice, followed by a definitive target (mom, dad, etc.), coupled with a laughable cute face, therefore making you laugh and get a little upset at the same time.
Well it isn’t always funny.
I have heard no from my boy repeatedly for the past two days.  It has been so much, and so sudden, that I found myself sitting down with him and saying to him “but you are a boy that listens.”  Then I ponder, “are you going to change that? please don’t, I hate when kids don’t listen and my kids will listen.”
Well…time to wake up and smell the peanut butter…because it looks like Caiden is hitting another testy toddler phase.  Shoot.
I sort of thought I had hurdled the tantrums and crazy stage of the terrible twos, and was relieved. I even thought to myself, “that wasn’t so bad.”  However, this is some new marked independence here; he closes his room door, pushes me on the other side, he tells me no when I ask him to do things he normally never resists, like brushing his teeth or picking up his toys and so on.  Sometimes it is a simple “no mom”,  but the last two days these things, amongst others, have resulted in battles.  Two occasions led to the dreaded public tantrum…oh gosh yes it went there.
I have always felt bad for moms dealing with a tantrum in a shopping line, but yesterday I was that mom.  It doesn’t last long,  the tantrum, but I wonder how many more does this guy have in him.
I decided I will take it in stride, I won’t battle but I won’t give in.  And, I will enlist my own army.  So grandparents have been told to not always give in, and we will nip it in the bud.
Today was a lot better,  and I think I know why.
Initially, yes this can be frustrating and your first tendency is to be assertive.  However, going to bed defeated got me thinking,  I don’t want to always battle him and I am sure he just thinks I am just not getting him.  So I read some notes from my Toddlers best chance book, had some awesome tea, got some sleep.  I woke up rejuvenated, today will be a success.
It was much better…here is what I did different today, so some take away points if you need during your tantrum stages:
1.  Keep calm.  Each point of a tantrum or stand-off, remain calm.  Do not revert to anger yourself.  If he is not having it, you yelling more will not change it.  Keep calm and respond as you want him to.
2.  Ignore. He will eventually calm down, so ignore if you just don’t know what he wants.  This isn’t mean, it just shows you won’t always give in and that it doesn’t affect you.  This truly works…he totally saw that and calmed down himself.
3.  Distract.  If what he wants he can’t have, you can ignore and then distract him with something else.  If he is still not having it, I actually turned my attention to his little sister with whatever I wanted him to do…and that worked also.
4.  Hug it out.  Offer the hugs and kisses despite the fact you kind of need a break…because it may just be the thing that calms you both down.  Lucky for me, my kid loves hugs.
5.  Tell yourself it is not your fault, or his.  He is not bad and you are not a bad parent.  This is a normal life stage.  He thinks you do not understand what he wants and showing he wants something specific, and you are trying to establish rules.  It is like a right of passage and all parents experience it at some point to some degree.
Needless to say, no major tantrums today and I feel confident I have some better tools to handle the next one.
I hope.

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