I’m totally winning at this toddler tantrum thing. M does have at least twenty million a day, but I’m feeling so confident at handling them at the moment it means we can show our faces in shops with actual people present.
My latest experience of a public tantrum standoff was this morning in B&Q. We only nipped in for some stones for our front step because next door did theirs yesterday and we’re jealous. M was completely shattered from being up til midnight the night before so maybe it wasn’t the best idea but we really wanted those stones. We didn’t even make it through the door before he was kicking off. He’d thrown himself on the floor right in full view of every other shopper coming in.
Maybe it was because his dad was there, strength in numbers; I probably wouldn’t have been so cocky if I was on my own, but we stood there and let him do his thing. He did his tantrum cry, not a properly upset one just the angry one because we weren’t pandering to him, he kicked his legs and rolled around on the floor. I could see people looking at us as if to say ‘why aren’t they doing anything?’ and a member of staff tried to make him laugh (while I’m thinking ‘step away from the child, this is totally spoiling the ignore technique’) but he wasn’t arsed he just carried on. The thing is the tantrum was because he wanted me to sit in the bloody trolley so he could push me, so it’s not even like I could give in!!
I explained to him there’s no way this backside is fitting in that trolley, moved him to one side and let him carry on for a few minutes before he realised this was totally pointless and jumped up happily. We had a kiss and went off to get our stones. Which we didn’t even buy in the end because they’re half the price in B&M. Us 1, M 0.
Admittedly when I first started taking this approach it was extremely embarrassing and felt like everyone was thinking what a totally shit mum just standing there while her kid makes a scene. But me and his dad know him inside out, we know what will work and what won’t so those judgey people can mind their own beeswax. Yeah, it’d make him happy for that moment that he’s getting what he wants but he’ll be on to the next tantrum in a few minutes so we know we have to stand our ground and concentrate on him, not the eye rolling know-it-alls.
We don’t get into battles with M. We never, ever shout. We won’t make him eat his tea. We don’t drag him out of the bath if he won’t get out. We don’t make him brush his teeth. But he does most things we ask and if not, I sit and wait until he realises he wants to cooperate and it really works for us.
We’ve totally got this parenting shit.