A couple of months ago two dirty little words entered Miss Molly's vocabulary. When I brushed tangles out of her hair she'd cry it. When we turned off the TV or said it was time for bath or bed or told her to tidy up the box of toys she'd spread all over the floor, she'd say it again - and I have to admit it broke my heart every time she screamed, "Go Away!" at us.
This is not a phrase that we use at home, so I'm convinced that these two words are something that she'd acquired at daycare, akin to some sort of virus of the genome "parentaldisrespectus". We immediately and quite successfully began work on etiquette and manners with her. Molly loves to be praised for being a "big girl" and hates to be given time-outs. She also can't stand being embarrassed in front of her favourite people. So by simply saying things like, "You hurt my feelings" or "I guess I should tell your favourite person at daycare that you were being rude" she usually stops. These instances slowly decreased in frequency. That being, said she's three and Chris and I have also found that sometimes it's best for everyone to let her have a complete meltdown so she can spin and then calm down.
My two cubs!
The other morning after Chris had to take over our morning routine with Jack because I was so angry and frustrated he turned to me and said, "You know he doesn't mean it right? He's three." I knew it, but somehow I needed to hear it from someone else. I don't speak baby, but I do speak English and his words were really hurting me, even though he doesn't understand cause he's freaking three!
Our one sized fits all solution for "Go Away" wasn't going to work for Jack because drum roll here: He and Molly are very different people. I began my research. Jack has always been such an easy going fellow that you literally forget about him, so he has been feeding off of this negative attention lately. This combined with bad sleep and the weird phenomenon that both of my children are pretty jerky whenever they are about to achieve some sort of milestone has been particularly terri-bad.
So I found some great research on dealing with different phases with your kids and why they throw tantrums and have gleaned the following:
- Don't acknowledge bad behaviour, just walk away
This took a ton of self-restraint yesterday when I asked Jack to put his sun hat on and he threw a ball at my face, twice. As we work on perfecting the walk away, Jack has started to chase us, which I think shows it's working.
- Yelling back or attempts to minimize tantrums make them last longer
I know this but it's really hard to stay calm and not scream back, "WE DON'T HIT PEOPLE" at the top of your lungs when you've been pinched, hit or kicked.
- The part of the brain that regulates emotion and allows kids to control social behaviour is the last to develop and doesn't begin to develop at all until four
I have at least thirteen more months of this, yippee!
- The average tantrum lasts three minutes
So if you're going nuts...put on some music...the average pop song lasts 3-5 minutes.
I keep reminding myself "This is only a phase!" again and again, however I would rank this as the third most painful child rearing experience so far. The only things worse have been daycare illness and colic. One day we'll look back at this and laugh, although I'm pretty sure that day won't be tomorrow.
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