How we’re not dealing with tantrums

The terrible twos are meant to start at two. The clue really is in the name.

But unfortunately, Georgia has. not. received. that. memo.

She’s started ten second tantrums at less than 14 months old. I’m not impressed, I honestly don’t know how to cope with them other than to ignore her or try and shift her focus with a half arsed attempt at “ooh look a raisin”. At the minute we have about a 50% success rate with that strategy… which to be honest could just mean that the 10 seconds are up and I’m kidding myself.

They’re a vision of my what’s to come and to be honest, I don’t like what I see.Tantrum over a pen

You see, I’m a newbie to dealing with tantrums. I can’t even deal with my own crazy mood swings let alone try and help her cope with hers. How am I meant to teach her how to cope and understand if I don’t know myself?

I’d love to be one of those calm mums that always sees the bigger picture and keeps their cool.

The ones that know that it’s futile to be angry at them. They’re only little. They don’t understand. Yada Yada. I love those mums and aspire to be like them, but that’s just not me. I find dealing with my own anger a bit harder.

I know it’s wrong to be angry at her, but she still drives me to the edge of that angry cliff time and time again. I just can’t seem to pull myself back from it as I teeter on the edge. Food being thrown on the floor with glee, the radiators being smacked with a wooden utensil – transferring the paint onto the radiator, spitting on the floor because that’s the new fun thing to do…the list goes on.

They’re all fairly normal things, but usually result in me playing Cinderella for the day – but never getting to go to the ball. It’s frustrating and I hate cleaning.

It’s never just one thing, but a series of small, inconsequential things that are seemingly relentless. It’s enough to push me to my angry space. I imagine my angry space looks quite pointy and red and it’s sitting right at the bottom of that cliff. There’s only one way down with a long walk of shame and guilt back up again.

What makes it worse is that when I do fall over that cliff on the odd occasion, she just stares at me and giggles. She finds it hilarious. But she won’t always. She won’t always forgive me and it breaks my heart to think about it.

I know that being angry at her is wrong. I’ve watched loads of episodes of Super Nanny – I’d even say I know the formula, which certainly doesn’t include shouting.

But how do I deal with a toddler that doesn’t understand cause and consequence?

I’m only human. I get angry when I’m dealt ‘that’ card for a day. But the worst that happens is that I get a bit shouty.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all doom and gloom… 99% of the time (okay, probably more like 90% of the time) we’re laughing and giggling and having a great time, but what about that other, smaller percentage that’s fraught with frustration?

Am I going to be one of those mums that is a “Do as I say, not as I do” sort of mum? Shouting while telling her not to shout? Will I be one of those mean mums that shouts at their kids in the supermarkets… you know the ones “PINOT, GET YOUR F’IN ‘AND ‘AGHT THE F’IN TROLLEY”… at the top of their lungs? I flippin’ hope not. Or will I learn to deal with it and not shout as much?

I don’t want her to see me as a shouty mum. A loud mum yes, an embarrassing one yes and a funny one… well I hope so. But I want to learn how to deal with it before she starts seeing me differently.

Mummascribbles

Comments 40

  1. Pinot!! Haha. In all seriousness though I’m exactly the same. The boy can make me lose my rag instantly, and I’m not an angry person. Children are very very annoying. I think once you understand that they are just very very annoying you can kind of accept it and just get on with it. Good luck!! Xxx #tribe

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      Pinot was the first name that came to mind where I wouldn’t offend anyone who had a kid with that name! Haha… I bet someone with a kid called Pinot comments now (because it’s such a posh name….) You’re right. Kids can be annoying. Thanks for commenting x

  2. Oh yes I feel this. Not so much with tantrums but with bedtime – I get really cross. I did lots of thinking about anger management etc and wrote a draft post about it but it was a bit long and boring. Worth looking into strategies though i found…even though they’re hard to remember in the heat of the moment. I also think that your over 90% happiness is key. A parent that doesn’t show their emotions to their child is surely doing them a disservice too. #triballove

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      You are so right about showing emotions. I think it’s striking the right balance and being happy with how you’re acting. I’ll have a look into anger techniques – lots of other tribesters have commented with some great tips too! 🙂 Thanks for commenting! x

  3. My son tantrumed early and is only just getting out of it, I recon a lot of it at first was because I dealt with it wrong, distraction is good, don’t try and talk them through it or give a huge focus on the negative attention..which I accidently did..now he is older it is easier to praise him more through the day, we have chart and thinking time..when they are that young it is so hard I think a lot of it comes from not being able to communicate. I would never swear at my son but like most I am sometimes guilty of shouting. I was going to be a no loud sound parent..lol…as you say you are tired and they push you to the end of sanity..your awesome stick too! #triballove

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  4. A fab post, it’s so easy to be pushed over that angry cliff now and then but I promise they won’t hold it against you – our older children (13 and 10) certainly haven’t! I’m now going through the terrible 2’s with our toddler, have another due in September and there are definitely moments when I get a bit shouty. At the end of the day they all know I love them and the rest of the time is lots of fun so I try not to worry about it. We’re only human after all 🙂 x

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      Ahh I completely missed that you’re pregnant! Congrats! Thanks for the support, it really means a lot. x

  5. It can be really hard to keep your cool in those moments! We started doing the naughty step at around 14 months. I think officially it’s supposed to be 2 years and over, and I think it’s been more effective since that age, but it was good occasionally, and it meant I could take a minute to cool down when I needed to! I read something the other day which said that kids can’t focus on emotions and facts at the same time…so distraction can work… Hope you find a solution that works for you guys! #triballove

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      Thanks, that’s really useful – I didn’t know you could use the naughty step this early. May give that a go! Thanks for commenting x

  6. Aww big hugs. It can feel really hard and I still have days that I am like argh with my three year old and 6 year old. What I find helps is going to the toilet for 1 minute whilst shout whispering swear words under your breath. Hiding chocolate just for you in the fridge. Or a bloody big glass of wine in the evening 🙂 x

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      Hiding chocolate in the fridge… LOVE IT! I have a glass of wine with me right now (no surprise there…) but I’ve had a good day. Great for both celebrating and commiserating. Thanks for commenting x

  7. You are def not alone I reach that angry cliff edge to. We are not superwoman all the time. That ideal women you speak of who tells her child it’s ok when they’ve done something they knkw they shouldn’t have! I find it very hard to believe lol

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      Glad you liked this one Claire, as I said, was a bit nervous about this one as to whether it was just me – or whether admitting to getting angry would somehow make social come over. Silly I know. It was more people that never seem to lose their cool and deal with things really well… I suppose we’re all that women when we’re out and about, it’s when we’re at home that we all go aaaaaahh!! xx

  8. I’m in the same boat as you. I try to distract her or else I say “do you want to go to bed?” and it has about a 50% success rate. So if you ever figure it out, please let me know! (: Also, not strictly related but I really like that chair in the first picture. It’s very pretty x
    #triballove

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      Thanks, the chair is from Dunelm and she LOVES it. I should try the do you want to go to bed trick and see if it works, somebody else has suggested that too! Thanks for commenting x

  9. Yup, same here! Oh, and I also read that the terrible twos should really be called the terrible one-and-a-halfs to two-and-a-halfs, so don’t despair…!

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      Thanks Sally! We’re still early for 1.5 at just over 1… early bloomer I suppose 😉 Thanks for commenting x

  10. I’m with you here – my 13 month old has huge tantrums and I’m looking at her thinking “really?! already” Give me strength, I thought I had another 11 months until this! Sending you lots of love. I completely agree with you, I don’t want to be a shouty mum, but I am firm with her already so she knows where to boundaries are. Some days I wonder if I’m being too strict but I think it’s important to just set those boundaries and guide her from this point onwards – they are little but she seems to understand so much already. xxx #triballove

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      Thanks and to you! Dealing with an under 2 tantrum is hard, but I agree with you – it’s important to be firm (I think if nothing else, I am firm!) Thanks for commenting x

  11. Oh I’m with you here. Clem has just started to have tantrums and it took me by surprise when it first happened. People always comment that I’m such a calm mum when really I’m thinking the complete opposite. I say to her ‘do you want to go to bed?’ and that usually stops it straight away. Luckily most of them have been in the house at the moment. #triballove

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      Thanks, Oh I’m glad that a seemingly calm mum isn’t so calm! It gives me hope! Thanks for popping over x

  12. Oh sweety I am right there with ya. This week both kids have pushed me to my limits and beyond. I got so frustrated I had to put them in their beds so I could cry it out! My 10 month has been doing the screaming refusal to sleep manuever and my 5 yr old has decided he is going to turn into some type of monster I don’t recognize. I have realized that Motherhood is the hardest job on earth! The only advice I can say is breathe! I inhale through my nose while biting my tounge when it hurts I stop, then I talk. This reminds me not to respond with the yelling or first words that pop out. I grew up with shouty parents and do not want that for my kids.#triballove

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      Thanks, it’s hard to comprehend when people say “it’s really hard”, how hard it really is. You think, nah, if it were that hard, people wouldn’t have kids… hmm. Thanks for commenting and for the tip – I’ll give it a go! 🙂 x

  13. I could have wrote this about my youngest daughter. She is HARD WORK, and that’s the under statement of the year! I find myself turning into shouty mum pretty much every day, because nothing else works whatsoever!! It’s so hard, I always feel that I am failing her, but I literally have tried everything else and nothing works whatsoever. I’m hoping she grows out of it!! #TwinklyTuesday

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      I don’t think you’re failing her because you’re shouting. It’s hard. It’s frustrating. They can be little ‘darlings’ sometimes. Good luck x

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      Exactly the same! She hasn’t really tested me to the cliff in the past few days (thank GOD!) but I’m sure it’ll come around again. It just sneaks up on you doesn’t it! x

  14. Totally with you on this one, its so hard to not loose your shit. I also have a daughter who at about 14 months started having proper tanty’s and hasn’t stopped since and is now 25 months!!! It gets better as we get better at dealing with them, its so hard at staying calm and I often become shouty mum myself. Again i’ve worked at not doing this as i wanna be a calm mum too…were getting there. thanks for sharing. Keep up the good work hunnie #TwinklyTuesday

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      Thanks, it’s good to know that I’ll get better with it. I suppose it’s a learning curve for everyone x

  15. I so am reluctant shouty mum. My daughter is bright, funny, stubborn and utterly frustrated at being a child. She pushes my buttons. My feeble advice is to leave the room, scream into a pillow and smile through gritted teeth. After all bedtime eventually comes around!

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  16. Oh we are slapbang in the middle of the terrible twos. I even hate calling them that but toddlers really do know how to wind you up. And i am sorry to break the news that as they get older they become more calculating! I try to keep my cool and if i am losing my shit I make sure he’s ok and walk away for a bit. Parents need timeout as much as toddlers! The only advice I have is be consistent and follow through. If you say “If you do that again I’m taking XX toy away” do it and explain why. And then explain why it was taken away when you give it back. I have no idea if this works long term but we’re trying to link behaviour to consequences. Good luck. #twinklytuesday

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      Gaaaah! More calculating! I agree, I think I even need more timeouts than her. I’m trying to be consistent now… as she’s only just understanding it’s hard to know whether she’s just ignoring me or if she doesn’t understand. It’ll come I’m sure! Thanks for the advice. x

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      Completely the same as me then. I feel like it’s not me when I get angry. Not the real me anyway. I’ve had loads of great comments from people with tips so check them out, I think they’ll be helpful for me 🙂 x

  17. I end up losing my rag most days with my two girls and they’re older – 4 and 2. They always seem to know exactly what buttons to push to send you over the edge! I don’t want to be a shouty mum either but sometimes there’s just no other way around it. I think we shouldn’t beat ourselves up so much about it. Like you say, it’s not happening all the time (just a lot!!) #TwinklyTuesday x

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      I’m sure they’ll all just understand when they’re older! It was only after I had Georgia that everything clicked and I finally understood my mum’s frustrations. Hmm… x

  18. Boy can I relate to this. I wrote a post just yesterday about how I’m not coping and just shouting all the time. After I wrote that post my son kicked over a potty full of piss on the living room carpet, threw eggs on the hard kitchen floor, covered himself with chocolate yogurt and laughed his head off every time I told him off. My daughter threw half her dinner on the floor and mushed the other half into the table. I really am on the verge of loosing it lately. I don’t want to be a shouty mum either (as I wrote in my post) but I’m only human and there’s only so much I can take. I hope it helps a little know g that you’re not alone.

    #twinklytuesdays

  19. It’s so hard! I’ve always been known as having a lot of patience but with the terrible two’s it is so hard to maintain my composure. My pediatrician once told me that they test the people they feel the safest with and that realization is what really helped me. Although I promise I still have my moments where I’m crumpled on the floor crying. #TribalLove

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