Sunday, 29 July 2012

Taming the Lion

A few weeks ago, I woke up and Max had turned into a toddler. Seriously. It happened overnight. My little boy is 16 months old, he's running, climbing, learning to build with blocks, ramming me with his Tonka truck and *cue scary music * starting to have tantrums.

Apparently toddlers have intense emotions. Very intense emotions. There's been times when Max has a complete meltdown, over something so trivial, I can't help but giggle. Our conversations go something like this-

Me: "Is it worth screaming until you're purple just because I'm putting socks on your feet?"
Me: "I'll take that as a yes then"
Me: "I do think you're overreacting a tad".

Angry child with a retro filter

I'm coming to the frightening reality, that none of my toddler taming strategies are effective. This disturbs me. Up until now, I've told deluded myself that he won't be a feral toddler, as long as I'm firm, consistent and fair. I've already discovered that the words "No, Stop and enough" only fuel the exact behavior I'm trying to stop. Positive reinforcement works a treat but isn't always possible. Just the other day, I lavished praise on him for returning a pair of undies he'd taken from the washing basket. Now, he keeps stealing undies, just so he can give them back and get praise. Is it just my toddler who hasn't read the book? For example-

• Book says- When toddler wants to play with fire distract him and he'll forget about it.

I say- Max doesn't forget and Max won't be distracted. An elephant could walk into the lounge room and he'd still want the fire.

• Book says: Tantrums are fuelled by attention, so ignore the tantrum and walk away.

I say: If I walk away Max's whole face lights up like the kid from 'Home Alone'. He thinks it means I've given up and he's free to do what he pleases.

Book says: If you ignore the tantrum, you child will become a serial killer. Validate the child's emotions, give rationales and apologize when you can't give them what they want.

I say: "Max, I can see you're upset right now but it's dangerous to play on the road. I'm sorry I can't let you become Flat Stanley". His response? "WAAAAAAAAAH"

In a room full of teaspoons, Max would find the only steak knife. He'd hone in on said steak knife and devise a series of fiendish plans to get his grubby little fingers on it. He wouldn't give up, he'd wait for me to give up.

Which brings me to the point of this post. Does anyone want my child? I'll pick him up in a few years.

Only joking kiddo

No comments:

Post a Comment