You ever get in that mode where you are just mad at the world? You know, angry, not wanting to talk to anyone, and unwilling to listen to what anyone has to say? Well, I am not sure if our little sweet angel of a daughter is mad at the world, but she’s been throwing tantrums lately and has hit both my wife and I. She’s been a wee bit irate, I’d say.
As many of you first time parents or veteran parents know, it’s hard to understand our kids’ fluctuating moods. They’re acting lovely one moment, then within seconds, they’re react with screeching anger when we tell them no. I’m puzzled at her outside reactions to statements like, “no, Simone, you can’t have that” or “it’s time for bed.”
Okay, she’s two years old, I get it. What two year old wouldn’t be mad if they were told they couldn’t have more of something? She says, “NOOOOO! Simone wants!” Or if she’s doing something she’s not allowed to do and we grab her hand while saying “NO,” she throws the closest object. We’ll assertively raise our voices, saying, “Simone…NO! We do not throw things in this house! No more (fill in the blank with whatever she can’t have.”
Boom: the dramatic fall out begins. Our sweet little innocent angel cries. Sometimes she hits us, too. I know about her being “bad” and watching her figure out her toddler world. I also know that technically she is not bad. She is a little human reacting at full force as she learned that some things are off limits in this universe. She is a sweet girl, but I’m struggling to find myself as a parent during her transition to toddlerhood. I wonder about labeling her with the word bad. I know my feelings about her hitting me are just that: feelings, her hitting me isn’t personal. From my reading, I know she’s just figuring out how to assert herself and figure out her way within this boundary filled world.
What good things am I taking from these encounters that my wife and I have with her? I know I need to look on the bright side of situations as I grow as a parent. I often realize that it could be worse, and I know it’s normal for kids to hit and yell and display all of their emotions out loud when we set boundaries for them.
In Jane Nelsen’s book “Positive Discipline,” she writes “Children under the age of three are usually too young to be sent to (or choose) time out. However you can go to time-out with them.” So I have tried to sit down with Simone after throws her toys on the floor in reaction to a “No.” She calms down when we read a book or watch her favorite movie (Disney’s “Moana”) Does this work every time? No. But it’s a work-in-process just like I’m a work-in-process, learning to be Simone’s dad.