Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mummy Tantrums

Something I have been increasingly noticing lately is that I get annoyed with my children the most when things aren’t going my way. Let’s say we have to be out of the house at a certain time and I took too long getting dressed. When I try to rush R, she doesn’t exactly cooperate because naturally she has no concept of time or urgency yet. Suddenly I find myself fuming, threatening R with timeouts if she doesn’t do what I want her to, and pretty much have a bit of a temper tantrum.
The funny thing is that the bulk of our frustration as parents comes from what the child wants to do clashing with what the parent wants. Our children aren’t too difficult when they are young- they want to do things that are fun and that make them happy. Oh wait, that description can be applied to everyone, even adults…
My point is that we are all humans and we all have the same agenda, more or less. If my child doesn’t get what she wants, she gets frustrated. If I don’t get what I want, I get frustrated. I have thirty more years of frustration-management experience than my daughter has, which should make me almost an expert, right? But no, I still occasionally lose my temper and yell or do other undesirable things.
I overheard a mother a few weeks ago, speaking to her son. She said: “Listen and obey!” This really didn’t sit well with me. The more I have thought about it, the clearer it has become what bothered me about it. Our children are human beings, just like we are, with the exact same feelings. We tend to overrule their wishes and desires because they don’t fit into our own wants. The only reason we are able to do this is because we are stronger than them.
I hear the protests now- ‘But we are their parents! It is our job to teach them certain things and some of those things cause frustration!’ I absolutely agree. However, I urge you all to critically examine your parenting behaviors. When I look at my own, I see that I try to stop any kind of behavior in my child that I don’t want- not just the kind that is dangerous or for some reason unacceptable, but anything that gets on my nerves. For example, R is playing nicely by herself, drumming on something. I ask her to stop. She was in her own world, minding her own business, and there I am butting in. Because what she wants is not what I want in that moment.
In the future, I want my children to have more freedom to express themselves without my interrupting them. I am trying to work towards double checking my motives when correcting their behavior. Are they really doing something wrong or is that just not what I want right now? Maybe I can find a compromise that will make us both happy? I don’t know about you, but I’m more of a lover than a fighter. I much prefer having a harmonious environment in our house. And I’m getting tired of throwing tantrums.


  1. I struggle with this as well. When is it important to socialize, and when is it important to let them be kids? I try to keep the limitations to logical areas: act civilized at the dinner table, don't be too loud in the car (it hurts my ears), etc. I do sometimes have mommy tantrums though, I admit! We're only human!

  2. I've been thinking a lot about this often I misinterpret discipline for control. More than anything I want to teach my kids right from wrong and to remember that many of the annoying things they do are not intrinsically wrong (just annoying) will definitely influence my parenting choices. I've found that when I get really upset it's usually because I'm annoyed, but when someone does something that needs genuine correction I'm surprisingly level-headed and rational. I think that checking in with my feelings helps me discern whether I'm acting out of selfishness or love.

  3. Ha.. I am having my husband read this because this is exactly what I try to explain that he is doing when he is constantly yelling at the kids for being kids.. having adult tantrums before thinking of the needs and feelings of the kids too. A lot of things that kids do have no effect on me the way it does other so I really do not find myself interrupting their world for my own wants. The one time I do remember having adult tantrums was with my oldest daughter, Renee. She was hitting the beginning stages of terrible 2's and it was really my first experience with them since my son did not hit terrible 2's till he was 4. My husband would come home from work some days to Renee and I having fights like she was a teenager. I would tell her to go to her room and calm down and she would stomp down the hallway and slam the door shut yelling "FINE" and it would go back and forth. Those days were the days that Jim would usually walk right back out the house and head his friends house for a couple hours till he heard the house was calmer. I asked Jim one day where was she getting this from because we do not fight and yell. His simple response was "have you heard yourself when you 2 are fighting?" That got me thinking right there about my own behavior. Both of us slamming doors and yelling at each other like she was 2 going on 12 and i was 23 going on 2. It takes practice and lots of it! With Cora I do not find that I have tantrums myself so much. I am trying to find a compromise in the house though from the kids and my husband.. lol! I do feel that as much as they need to be kids that they do have to learn common manners and maybe having the loudest toys here in the living room where my husband is trying to watch tv or has to do paperwork for work is not the best idea. I have always felt before that they need to learn when its ok to be loud and when its time to respect others but not giving them their own space to be able to spread their wings has gotten me no where. So I have been trying to create one of the bedrooms to their playroom where they can make as much noise as they want and it does not get to my husband so everyone is happy and in turn there is less yelling!