My child has turned into a monster!
It seems to be that, at around the age of two, your loving, cuddly little baby starts to pull away from you, seeking independence. You may be baffled by the fact that your clingy little baby suddenly seems to challenge you at every stage and for, seemingly, everything.
How on earth do you manage the tantrums, the screaming and the embarrassment in public places? -Yes, because that seems to be the terrible two’s favorite place to have a major melt down doesn’t it!!
The first thing to acknowledge is that this is a perfectly normal stage of development for a child. With increasing awareness and consciousness of the world around them (and their power to influence maybe, eeek!!) A big part of the tantrum stage is associated with the inability to be able to convey what they are feeling, having a need to be heard but not yet capable of coherency. Sometimes, it is also because your child cannot complete a task that she is trying to achieve. The sheer frustration ends up in explosive behaviour which, unfortunately, often seems to be channeled towards you.
Whilst you may be fuming with anger or humiliation, it is vitally important that you remain calm. Do not engage in an argument with your child (not least of all because you will not win!) If is is possible, avoid eye contact, allow your child to have their rant and quietly wait for it to pass. What this teaches the child is that there is no ‘reward’ (attention) for poor behaviour. Once your child calms down, then give her some attention. Show her your love and teach her how to express what she wants without tantrums. If you ‘feed’ a tantrum, you will prolong the behaviour, if you ignore it, the behaviour will extinguish.
But, what do I do if it happens in a public place?
Maybe your question might have been WHEN it happens, because it is highly likely that it will at some point. No matter how strong you think you are, you are most likely to feel embarrassment, especially when people start looking your way. Remember that many people looking at you will be parents and will understand your pain. Sadly, some will make snap judgement but, that is their issue not yours, so try to deflect from the sneering looks.
If it is possible, remove your child to the sanctuary of your car or even the store toilets. Once there, quietly hold your child (without vocal engagement) until the tantrum has passed. Do not promise candy or toys in an effort to get your child to stop crying. This is setting you up for more tantrums because a child can soon work out how easy it is to get what they want if they make a public display. Set yourself up for a better future by not giving in to bribery.
Once the tantrum has passed, ask your child to tell you what is wrong and ask how you can help. This teaches your child that you value her feelings which goes a long way towards enabling her to be able to freely express her feelings without anger or pain, in the future as a teenager and adult.
Make sure your child is well rested and fed before embarking on a trip to the store. Look for non-verbal cues – for instance if your child becomes a little quiet or flushed, or starts being a little grumpy or clingy. Stay alert to these signs and seek to stop them before they start. There is, most times, plenty of warning signals that a tantrum may be on the horizon.
More help please!
Okay, we found a fabulous course that can go into far more detail than we can and is incredibly useful with a great range of glowing testimonials. Talking to Toddlers is a superb source of help for this challenging issue. You can access a free audio lesson just by signing up (worth $9.95)
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