The tantrum came out of nowhere, nothing even triggered it. My 2.5-year-old daughter was being held and all of a sudden she wanted down and she wanted to run away. Since her request was a little irrational and hard to grant (she was going towards some cables behind all the food stands- we were at the rodeo in this occassion) I took her to safer grounds. It was bad, people were looking at me like I was either torturing my baby or being tortured by her… I got some sympathetic looks from fellow mamas. Then daddy came to the rescue (he had been close by but trying to figure out if we should buy a $6 cotton candy or $6 freshly fried Mount Everest worth of chips, we got none). He realized she wanted down but I objected to the dusty fairground floor, so he placed her on a fresh patch of grass. She then crawled close to some cables, daddy just followed her. He exuded love, patience and calmness, all at once. He just laid there, next to her and I could see him talking. Moments later he said she was ready for the carnival rides and gave me back an emotionally composed child.
*You thought I was going to give you some magical cure for tantrums? I don’t believe there is one. I really don’t believe there is ever a cookie-cutter solution for the emotional needs of these precious, tiny individuals. It really is just about keeping them safe, staying calm, and letting it run its course.*
This episode reminded me of how, usually, it is expected for a young kid to act as an adult. We forget about their emotional needs and their inability to control emotions like we do (Or like we are supposed to?). My daughter was tired and probably hungry and she broke down. There was so much going on around her and, even though she’s been acting like such a grown little girl,all of a sudden she went into overload to the point where she was unable to communicate the problem to us. She probably couldn’t really identify what was wrong. She just needed a good cry and a loving adult close to her, reassuring her that we’re there through thick and thin- unconditional love.
We take care of our kid’s physical needs with no problem, we change their diapers, we feed them, we bathe them; but sometimes we forget to take care of their emotional needs. Maybe because we don’t know how to care for our own emotional needs. Maybe because we have been indoctrinated to think that “difficult” kids are just trying to manipulate us. Maybe because we don’t know how. I know all these apply to me at one point or another, but I try to remind myself that somewhere, deep inside, I do know how to care for my daughter’s needs, all of them. The answer is not in some book, it’s not in some parenting technique or some parenting “guru.” It’s in your relationship with your child and the mutual love and trust in each other. If something doesn’t feel right, it’s probably not right for your family. Just be honest with yourself and with your child; act out of love for each other and learn how to be gentle with both. Ask yourself: “how would I feel if I were in my child’s place and how would I like to be treated?”
And don’t forget: Patience IS a virtue.