No, you can't have that.
Five things I do when my kid loses it.
I wouldn't be 'that' parent.
Before you have kids, it's easy to silently judge the parent whose little brat has collapsed on the floor because he can't have that sugary cereal at the grocery store (even after he asked so nicely 16,000 times) and is screaming pitches military-grade marine equipment can't quite measure.
Why doesn't she discipline that one? How could she raise her child that way? When's she gonna shut that little monster up?
And then you walk away, pay for your groceries, drive home and forget it ever happened — immediately after you vow to never be that parent. That mom, however, has to go home with that thing and lives to survive the next tantrum. Here's how I manage to be that mom, even after I swore I wouldn't be:
1. Remember he's a human being.
Puppies and kids are both cute enough to make your squeal. That's where you need to draw the line. Sure, you "train" your kid to do certain things (i.e., going potty, eating greens, curtsying to the Queen), but you should never lose sight of the fact he's HUMAN.
I often see people trying harder to reason with a puppy that won't stop barking at that stupid squirrel than with their screeching three-year-old. Kids are people too. Appealing to his rational side might be the last thing you feel like doing while everyone at the grocery store stares at you. But treating that kid like a fellow human being will eventually resonate with his hot head.
He's a little living, breathing human being who makes decisions and is growing toward an independent life. Help him grow toward being that adult who doesn't throw spoiled fits. Consider it one of the long-term strategies for raising a good human being.
2. F* other people.
Too often we're made to feel that we need to shut our kid up so he's not disturbing the peace. Faster you deal with it the better. What we need to do in this situation is say, Screw everyone else: Houston we have a frickin' problem! Instead of rushing out of the store to save people's ears, take control of the situation in your way. The other people will survive the sound of a child crying.
3. Create value in the word NO.
No means no. Through consistent enforcement, NO can become a trigger word for your kids. Not a trigger to cry and throw himself on the ground. It should become a signal that you're not effing around and it's not worth the fight.
But remember two things: 1) stick to your guns and 2) don't say NO to everything. If you've decided NO is the answer, that's it. Let him see you give in once, and he'll know what it takes to break your will. You're not his bitch; he's your child.
Secondly, don't be a dictator. If you tell him NO to everything, he'll either become a rebel without a cause or kid in a bubble. Like everything else, moderation is key. Let him make some decisions in his life. Teach him to trust your judgment and respect when you tell him, NO.
4. Ignore the bully.
I know I'm supposed to embrace temper tantrums as my kid's "way of communicating," but I think it's an early form of bullying. Just like the schoolyard punk, I pay this bully no attention.
It's hard to leave the kid (and listen to him) sobbing over whatever it is now. Give in once and he'll develop his own strategy for breaking you. Either walk away or just continue with your activity.
Let him know — every single time — that his tantrums don't affect whatever you're doing at the moment and they won't change your mind about anything (except, maybe, having more children).
5. Remember, it's just a tantrum.
We spend plenty of time packing activity bags, reading strategies and working ourselves up, crossing our fingers to avoid a temper tantrum. Similar to any other natural disaster: sometimes there's nothing you can do.
Unlike a natural disaster, it's not really that big a deal. Embarrassing? Yes. Exhausting? Sure. Earth-shattering? Not even a tiny bit. And in almost all cases, no one is going to die because your kid is having a fit. Make sure you work toward tempering his tantrums before he grows up. No one loves an adult who throws himself on the ground and cried. No one.
- Samantha Hobbes is a working mother with a grade-schooler and a toddler. She loves them both and enjoys finding incredible DIY kid projects on Pinterest to start and never finish.