Toddler Tantrum Part 1: What does he need from me?

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We’ve been going through a lot of transition lately and it’s been really tough for my toddler (he’s a month and a half away from three years old).  This is such a tough age because there is no reasoning with them, they are a walking ball of emotion.  Mostly it’s sweet, kissy, cuddly emotion but when it goes bad, it goes really bad.

The hubby and I were really confused and unsure of how to handle it, not to mention frustrated and at our wit’s end.  So this is what we did… 

I talked to a parenting coach because that’s just what I do.  She said that between his age and the extensive transition we had been going through (moved from New Orleans to Phoenix, new house, new school, new everything) that our job was to pull him closer.  We needed to show him a lot of love.  She told me two really important things:

  • First, he knows who’s boss.   We don’t need to “show him who’s boss”.  There’s no “winning” in this situation, it’s not a battle. (aka letting him “cry it out” or putting him in time-out is not a good idea, it leaves him alone with his big emotions).
  • Second, age-wise he is just coming out of his autonomy stage and getting to the point where he is realizing just how much he needs his parents.  So our job is to have his back.  He needs to be really clear on this point.

The knowledge was great.  It helps me to know these things because then I am able to let go of the emotions I was feeling about the situation (fear, frustration, anger, the feeling that I just wanted it to be better already).  It was clear he needed to fully feel all of these big feelings and to see us unruffled in the face of it.  He needed me to stay calm, be there, and love him afterward.

Easier said than done.  It’s easy to talk about these things and much harder to put them into action.  What was I supposed to SAY, what was I supposed to DO.

Tune in tomorrow and I will share the nitty gritty of our interactions and how I handled it (and how you can too!).

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