Today we're talking toddler tantrums (alliteration WIN ;] ), and how we handle them as mature, emotionally intelligent, conscious mothers.
I kid! We're totally crazy town around here, and I find myself turning into an ugly green monster more often than I should. And while I would never shame your parenting style, I often find myself feeling guilty for the way I react with my child and the temperament I'm both promoting and instilling in her.
I come from a household that used yelling, violence, and personal degradation to settle disputes. I was taught to say the nastiest thing I could in the moment-rational or not-to win the argument. Nothing was off limits-no insult too severe, but it wasn't until I married my husband and we got into our first real fight as a couple when I realized that my behavior was both unacceptable and completely dysfunctional. I remember the first time I went off on my husband, he was dumbfounded. This was not how his family resolved their issues, and I could tell by his expression that he had never had anyone talk to him like that in his life, and certainly not someone he loved.
I will never forget the way he responded. In his typical calm, gentle nature, he asked "Why does it have to be like this? Why can't we just talk about it?".
It was my turn to be dumbfounded. Never in my life had anyone responded to me the way he did; calmly, rationally, and empathetically. My demeanor immediately changed, and I went from crazy lady to calmly talking it out.
It's crazy, isn't it? How we self-sabotage perfectly great things by acting out in ways that are completely unnecessary? It was completely unnecessary for me to get to that level of anger, and as I reflected back on my childhood and the relationships I had with the people that had taught me the behavior, I realized that it inhibited them from having normal, healthy relationships. If I didn't work to change my behavior and habits, it would prevent me from having them as well.
My own temperament, along with raising my daughter, are my two greatest challenges in life. I would be lying if I said I didn't slip up now and again. I would be lying if I said I hadn't ever exposed Isla to this behavior. And I would be lying if I said I'm never going to do it again. But I am constantly aware of how my habits affect Isla and her behavior. I challenge myself each and every day to make decisions that I'd hope Isla would make, if she were in the situation I was in.
It's funny how life comes full swing. My own experiences with temper tantrums (which is what they are, let's be honest) has equipped me to handle the tantrums of my toddler. When Isla starts yelling and crying, my demeanor doesn't change. I speak to her calmly, let her know the decision I have made, and empower her to go ahead and have that tantrum on the living room floor - but my decision stands.
I'm no sanctimommy, and I'm certainly not perfect, but I have noticed an extreme difference in the ferocity of the tantrum when I get angry and yell versus when I'm calm and collected. I try to remember how I felt when my husband diffused my tantrum for the very first time, how I needed someone to just understand, love, and guide me through my thought process without escalating the situation.
I'd love to hear your thoughts. How do you tame a tantrum, and what are you personally working through as a mom?
Thanks for reading ladies, have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, cuddle your loved ones, and for goodness sake, stay sane!