the day of tantrums, ahh, which parent doesn’t know tantrums, they’re perfectly normal & common, but this day marked the ultimate day of tantrums…
this T day, the kid decided 1st thing in the morning as soon as he got outta bed to oppose at EVERY SINGLE thing said to him, to overthrow EVERY instruction, to demand at EVERYTHING he wants. (i have this idea that he wakes up each day deciding if he’s gonna cooperate or not cooperate and this day, the kid’s decided to give it his all to NOT cooperate)
this T day, we’re supposed to go to his classmate’s birthday party at an indoor playground. we’ve discussed this more than a week in advance, he seemed excited about his 1st classmate’s party. this T day, somehow he seemed rather disoriented, he kept insisting he’s going to school, he’s going for an excursion with his teachers, to the indoor playground, WITHOUT mama & papa. he seemed to not being able to accept that his school world & his family world are colliding, the poor kid actually looked disillusioned trying to mix these 2 worlds together. hence, started the extremely objectionable mood. insisting that he didn’t wanna go to the party one moment, insisting that only mama brings him to the party one moment, insisting he’s going to school, insisting that there’s school today, insisting that he needs to wear diapers out today (i can’t rem when he last wore diapers out)…getting upset over EVERY thing, upset we didn’t pour enough milk for him, upset that he’s eating bread & not cereal for breakfast, upset that we’re using this bathroom instead of the other, upset about having to brush his teeth, u get the general picture, and abovementioned are just maybe 5% of the entire episode, each with screaming, raised voice, sometimes stomping & jumping up & down…then when we said ok we’ll inform his classmate’s parents we’re not going for the party, he went into screaming fits, stomping & saying he wants to go. very confused kid. even more confused parents. took more than 2hrs for us to finally get outta the house.
reached party venue, the kid stopped at the entrance, looked totally overwhelmed by the crowd, saw one of his classmates, expression changed to horror (nooooo!!! trying to mix the school world & family world is a terrible idea, it’s too much for me to bear. i tried folks, i really tried !!!). a staff came trying to take his temp & checking his hands & legs, that sent him into a frenzy outburst (what is happening, can anyone explain to me?!! i thot only my teachers in school do those checks??!!). he pulled me out of the place, kept chanting he didn’t wanna go in, but he didn’t wanna go off too, he just wanna stand a distance away from the place & just stand THERE FOR THE WHOLE TIME (quote the kid).
at this point, i threw whatever patience i had left outta window & i lost it, it was over & above my head, i raised my voice at the kid, “WHATDOYOUREALLYWANT??!!!!!” and at the same time, pulled his hand, dragging him off, shouting, “YOUDON’TKNOWWHATYOUWANT, IALSODON’TKNOWWHATYOUWANTLETSJUSTGOHOME!!!!!!” i’m extremely thankful that the ever-calm husb was around, who stopped me & tried to calm both of us down, otherwise i’ll be known as that crazy mother who’s yelling & dragging her kid to who-knows-where. (yes, i confessed to the parents in my parenting workshops that the husb is more qualified to conduct the workshop that advocates calm & cool parenting)
i knew i had to remove myself from the kid & the entire situation immediately, at least for awhile, i found myself a time-out corner – out in the open where i can breathe in fresh air, smell flora, see the blue sky & white clouds…minutes later, the husb called & reported he managed to calm the kid down, we’re just gonna pass the birthday prez to the birthday gal & ciao…we did that, and headed out to that open space together…i was in a better, calmer state by then…the kid seemed calmer too, oh but oh for only an illusional moment!!and so the battle continued – he insisted on being out in the sun when we said we should stay in the shade, insisted on going to a place where there’re no seats when we said we needed to sit on a bench to rest, then very quickly escalated to screaming & crying & stomping around. eventually we did manage to get him to sit down & not move. he laid his head on the husb’s lap & started sobbing dramatically & pitifully how tired & sleepy he is one moment, to how hot the weather is, that the sun’s hurting his eyes, that he needed to go back in where he can get air-con, to suddenly lamenting how hungry he is & how he couldn’t wait and that he’s gotta eat NOWNOWNOW, and how thirsty he is, and he needed a drink, BUT NOT WATER, that he REALLY needed a drink NOW, to how the rain is getting to his eyes (it drizzled slightly earlier but has stopped at this point) and that he doesn’t like it…and it went on & on, the same issues repeatedly whined in a cycle..
and this point, i felt very sorry for the kid, my heart went out to him. at this point, i no longer felt frustrated & at a loss or impatient or getting nuts from hearing the whinning going on for so long…the poor kid was obviously disturbed, disoriented, disillusioned, confused, trying to cope with a new experience, exhausted…and by this time, both the husb & i (or rather I) were as calm & peaceful as the river, it didn’t exactly help diffuse the kid’s emotions & whinning but definitely better than me losing my cool…
and i was reminded that i’ve to see things from the kids’ perspective and understand his feelings…more than often, i threw my social worker’s abilities out of the window with my own kid & forget to empathise, forget to look behind the behaviour & attend to the emotions behind the act-outs…
it is so important for us as the bigger people in the parent-child relationship to be calm, to provide the calming effect when our kids are sucked into the whirlwind or tornado of tantrums…we need to be in the eye of the storm & help to pull our kids stuck out there into the eye, where it is calm. if we are not the ones to do that, who are?
tips for dealing with tantrums – go out in the open space, fresh air helps our brain to think better, being surrounded by beautiful nature helps to calm our heart. stay calm, don’t speak a word, just sit there, enjoying the surrounding until your kid calms down & able to talk nicely. if need be, soothe/comfort the kid. (the husb was stroking the kid’s hair while the kid laid on his lap, whinning about everything.) most importantly, rem to take a step back, seek to understand the reasons behind the tantrums, empathise & validate emotions & be in the eye of the storm!