I used to be one of those guys back in my early 20’s that couldn’t stand a toddler having a tantrum. I would see parents out shopping with their children, one child having a massive melt down and the parents just standing idly by until the theatrics stopped. The parents usually looked broken. I could never understand why this was, why did they allow it to happen, why did the not intervene? Why on gods green earth were they allowing that upstart spoilt little shit carry on that. I just couldn’t understand why they would allow this to continue. Fast forward 15 years. I now have two daughters of my own. I have in the last 3 years been those parents I saw all that time ago letting a child have a melt down, because it was easier than arguing with a self absorbed completely irrational midget.
I have done the walk away in the shopping centre. To the point where 2 months ago I walked completely out of the store and Miss 3 stopped mid tantrum realising that I wasn’t watching from behind the corn chips anymore and I had left completely. This brought a completely different tantrum on as she came running after me screaming the shops down. I warned her that if she continued she would get a smack at the car. Now parents are funny about chastising their children in public, some will not even raise there voice while other parents go looking for something similar to a vacuum cleaner handle so they can beat the living snot out of their kids. I am some where in between. I won’t smack her in a large crowd because I can’t be bothered arguing with other parents (and non Parents sometimes) about the physiological affects of smacking children. But they both get a warning that if they continue they will receive a short sharp one back at the car. So two months ago Miss 3 went too far, when I started warning her that she had crossed a line she initially continued with the bad behaviour until she realised that I was not joking. All I got for the next 5 mins was I’m a good girl daddy. When we got back to the car she indeed copped a little smack for her troubles and I explained to her that if she misbehaves there will be consequences.
Tantrums will always be a part of growing up. It’s our children asserting themselves in the world. It’s also the parents job to make sure that the right behaviour shines through, my wife and I do this using short sharp punishment as well as rewarding good behaviour. Another trick we have learnt recently is essential oils. To be honest I have no idea how they work, but I know that when my wife buts her burner on, give it 20 mins and our girls go from raging little loonies to quiet little cherubs watching their favourite show. Honestly in my eyes it’s magic, and it hasn’t just worked on the girls, I also find myself calmer and thinking clearer which is fantastic after a tough day at work. Jo has also used these oils to help me treat sore muscles from the gym. I call her my little Aladdin with all her magic spells. Apparently there is lots they can do, I am not really up to speed, but I know when the girls are rowdy and she puts the oil on within a short time everything is calm again. Money well spent in my mind.
I often look back at how I had no idea about parenthood. How I used to judge others. I really had no clue, if my child wants to have a melt down in the shops, go for it, she isn’t hurting anyone and is just learning how to express herself. However there is always a line, for every parent it’s different, I just try and be as consistent with that line as possible every single time.
If you would like more info on the oils you can find it here: