As the Child has neared her third birthday I've become increasingly more smug that we seemed to have mainly avoided the tantrum phase. Sure we've had a few scooter related strops but nothing too major so we thought we'd totally nailed the whole discipline thing. After all it's an absolute unequivocal fact that the 'twos' are the worst; the most terrible. Right? Well it turns out that's just what parents of three year olds tell you so they can laugh in your face when the tantrum shit hits the fan (and occasionally real shit).
The Child may still be a few weeks away from three (she's VERY advanced) but the last couple of weeks have seen her occasional quite cute strops turn into full on scream-fests. We've got feet stamping, shouting (with the occasional obscenity, I have no idea where's she picked that up from. I blame nursery), red-faced finger pointing and door slamming (ok I'll admit it, that's usually me). It's certainly made me lose my temper more than I'm proud of and pushed us all to our limits. If we're to cope with and survive this stage of parenting (however long it lasts - please give me hope parents of four year olds) I feel like it is essential that we understand the tantrum process.
So, here are the ten parenting stages of tantruming. Let's learn to heal together...
Inability to admit that either your child is having a tantrum or that the child having a tantrum is yours.
What the fucking fuck is happening?
Beginning to realise how awful and embarrassing the situation is and feeling compelled to express your distress in ever increasing volume in the general direction of your child.
Desperation, loneliness and complete isolation
Feelings of complete hopelessness - everyone is looking, everyone is judging and everyone is giving you the slitty side-eyes and pursed lips combo. Complete belief that this has never happened to any parent ever in the history of the world.
Convinced that the tantrum will never stop. That this is it. This is your life. You'll be wrestling flailing limbs until the day you die.
Empty threats and bribery
Determination to remove all things of value and emotional significance, swiftly followed by promises of shining new or chocolaty things until something works.
Recalling threats/ bribery used to dissipate this particular tantrum and convincing yourself it will lead to your child becoming a drug lord/ pimp/ someone who parks in parent & child spaces when they have no child.
Feelings of resentment towards the child that put you in this situation and caused stage 1 - 7. Any expressions of love will be treated with complete suspicion and as emotional manipulation.
Gradual renewing of normal activities
Emotional balance returns little by little. Your jaw slowly becomes unclenched. This usually coincides with moving away from anyone that witnessed the tantrum.
To the victor go the spoils. The bigger the tantrum the bigger the glass.