Are you exhausted from trying to be the best mom ever? Do you worry other people are judging you?
I was the mom with the uncooperative child who threw loud noisy tantrums throughout his second year of life.
Not short-lived flare-ups; rather Mason’s outbursts were full-blown very loud and hours-long tantrums. I received lots of “well-meaning” advice from family, friends and even strangers who all thought they knew what was best for my child.
When Mason didn’t get his way, my little angel laid his little body down wherever we were, fists pounding on the floor,and screamed until his face was bright red. I was embarrassed by his behavior, but more so by the judgmental looks other moms gave me. Some asked me if I could do something to quiet him. If I could, why wouldn’t I?
My doctor suggested ADD medication, which I was reluctant to give my 2 year old. Instead I tried time outs, giving choices to help Mason feel he had some control, and finally, in desperation, resorted to holding him tightly to calm him and also to restrain his flailing arms. Nothing worked.
Finally, I received some helpful advice.
I was told to take my son out; not to a quiet restaurant, but to a loud outdoor event where a tantrum would not be as disruptive, and to ignore his outbursts.
I took Mason to a local festival that weekend. He lost control when I did not buy him a second chocolate ice cream cone 2 minutes after he inhaled the first. I let him scream bloody murder in the back of the main room for over an hour while I sat quietly nearby with a book. I did not acknowledge or talk to him during that time. Parents passing by looked at me with serious disapproval.
After about 45 minutes, an elderly woman came over to me and said, “You’re doing a good job, I approve of how you are handling him”. Her support gave me the strength to continue. After another 30 minutes Mason quieted down. If I had to guess, I’d say throwing a fit isn’t much fun if no one pays attention.
I continued to take Mason out to crowded venues and not give him attention when he had an outburst. The tantrums became shorter less frequent over the next six months, and then stopped altogether. I never saw the women from that first festival again, but am forever grateful to her for her kind and encouraging words.
I could have picked up my child and headed home during the tantrums, or not left my house in the first place. That would have been much easier. But the way I chose to handle the situation solved the problem long term and allowed Mason to decide it was time for the outbursts to stop.
That year was a difficult one. But I learned a valuable lesson; it doesn’t matter what others’ think. An observer walking by sees a snapshot of the full story and is not in a position to make a valid judgement. Be confident that you are doing what’s best for your child and family and don’t worry about what other people say.
Relax, you’re a good mom.
photo source: qmedicine.co.in