The Terrible Twos

The thing is, I don’t really hold with the BBC3 parenting advice on tantrums. All the business of not rewarding bad behaviour with attention – I understand the logic, and there are times when a bit of ignoring does a child the power of good, but I maintain that for some children, in the throes of some (and certainly not all) tantrums, a little help to get over it is the only kind, responsible way to respond.

Daisy has just had one of those. She’s overtired, because she’s getting over a funny little bug which had no real symptoms, just an alarmingly high temperature, and a disinclination to eat. She’s also still not quite herself – a bit clingier than usual, because she doesn’t feel quite right. For reasons I can’t remember, and didn’t really understand anyway, she just had a complete meltdown – quite possibly her best ever. And after a while of her working herself into a bigger and bigger state of hysteria, the only reasonable thing to do, is to stop being cross with her, and to hold her. Or at least, sit next to her until she decides she’s prepared to let you hold her. It took a long time for her to recover herself – probably a good twenty minutes, if not longer – but she did, and now she’s calm, and exhausted, and in bed.

It’s kinda scary to be that out of control – it’s not a time for Mummy to stop being there for you.

2 thoughts on “The Terrible Twos

  1. I don’t think children naturally throw tantrums in order to be manipulative. Obviously some (many) children *do* scream and cry etc in order to manipulate situations, but imo that’s a learned behaviour.

    I try to look at a child in a meltdown and think, “If I was feeling so overwhelmed and out-of-control that I was doing that, what would help me?” Somehow the answer “being abandoned by the people who love me” doesn’t make sense.

    Have you read any Barbara Coloroso or Alfie Kohn? I think you’d like them 🙂

  2. Nope – haven’t read anyone, I’m largely parenting on instinct, and the unshakeable beliefs that you inherit from your own parents without even realising it.

    The tricky bit for me, in terms of the meltdown, is being sufficiently grown up about it to step back from how cross she got me in the first place, and start trying to make things better instead of worse. It’s not always easy to get from fighting-the-urge-to-shake-her to loving-it-better in one step. Being the grown up doesn’t always come naturally…

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