Some things just go together naturally. Peanut butter and jelly. Yin and Yang. Batman and Robin. Kids and tantrums. No matter how good your kid is or how awesome of a parent you are, dealing with tantrums are one of the undeniable realities of being a parent. You may not know where or when or even why, but odds are if you have a young child, a tantrum is in your near future. Here are the 8 stages a parent goes through when dealing with a tantrum…
Avoidance: This is not happening. This is not happening. This is not happening. Close your eyes, click your heels together and say something three time in a row it comes true, right? Unfortunately, that only works for Dorothy. This very early stage of an argument involves ignoring it completely. Choose your battles, right? Because let’s be honest, no one is really ever in the mood to get into it with a three year old because the wind is “too blowy”.
Mature Rationalization: In this stage you go into full-on “parent mode”. You realize that you are speaking to a child and that you are the mature adult in the situation. You keep cool, calm and collected. You mistakenly think that rationalizing with your child is the best approach. You will soon learn that logic and child do not belong in the same sentence.
Pulling the “Parent Card”: During this stage you may find yourself thinking “OMG, I sound just like my mother” or realizing you just told your kid something you rolled your eyes at when your dad told you 20 years earlier. You may find yourself using cliche statements like “Because I said so” or “If you don’t stop right now, I’m going to turn this car around..”.
Threatening: Threats are a crucial part of parenting. Whether you mean them or not, it’s the oldest trick in the parent book. Depending on your kid or the proximity to Christmas (nothing works quite as well as a “Santa’s watching” threat), threats may or may not be effective. Use threats with caution because kids are not dumb and having to follow through on a threat like “If you don’t stop now you can’t go to grandma’s for the weekend” may end up screwing you in the end.
Annoyance: Your patience is beginning to dwindle. Quickly. A 15 minute meltdown in the snack aisle of Target because your kid wants to buy an aquarium for his bag of Goldfish crackers ? Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Anger: Seriously? Is this really happening right now? Things were totally fine two minutes ago. What kind of person is laughing one second and then screaming about a leaf that touched their arm the next second? A kid. That’s who.
Desperation: A lot can occur during the last ditch effort to thwart a full blown meltdown. There can be counting: “You have 3 seconds to stop crying ‘1…2…2.5…2-½…2-¾…2-⅞…’”. There is also bargaining, pleading, singing, dancing, distracting. Literally anything can take place in the last few seconds when you still have hope of coming out of the experience tantrum free.
Facing The Reality of The Situation: There comes a point when you realize that no matter what you do, you cannot prevent the inevitable. You can’t win ‘em all…that’s why there’s wine.