I know all of us wonder: Why? Why us? Why now? What’s wrong? What did I do? And most of us mothers love to think is “Why her/his child never threw tantrums?” We really can’t help but compare, right? I really had all of those questions in my mind running, I started questioning the way I had raised Inigo. I started questioning myself as a mother.
When Inigo reached that certain time, around 18 months, my happy baby started throwing tantrums here and everywhere. At first, I blamed it to the teething. Most often times, I thought that Inigo was just over/under-stimulated, hungry, tired, lacking sleep and uncomfortable. I started keeping track of the things that made him tick—dirty highchair, uneven alignment of his toy cars, children holding anything his’, children staying near me, and obviously, not getting what he wants.
Until we came to playschool regularly, his tantrums became violent. He was hitting, grabbing and pushing kids. I really did not know what triggered him though now he is easier to handle but sometimes, in a split second, with no visible reason, he would be violent against his classmate. Those times, I wanted to melt with embarrassment because I know I was judged. I could see their looks, their actions and those things got a little bit messy in my monkey brain. I never laid my hands on him nor had he watched violent cartoons, but why was he like that? I kept researching on reasons, triggers and solutions for tantrums.
I kept trying new things until my partner told me that I should not be ashamed of my son since it is part of his developmental growth. He kept asking me to have more patience since Inigo was not yet able to express himself fully and that’s where all the frustrations trigger tantrums and emotional meltdown. I followed his lead and changed the way I look at the tantrums and embraced all the experiences these came with. These are the things that I have tried and worked for Inigo:
Make sure he is well fed and well rested
I really make sure that before we leave the house, he gets some sleep and is fed well. We also bring baon for emergencies. TIP: Always bring crackers. It’s so easy to give and it never gets old.
Talk to your baby
Though they can’t speak yet, they can understand more that we expect. Babies learn through repetition since they can’t fully understand everything in one try. Every time there is a new playmate/classmate, I always make sure to let Inigo say Hi and whisper to him “Be kind/Play nice/Lovelove lang ang classmate.” It doesn’t really work 100% but ever since I started it, his attacks lessened. Whisper sweet words calmly. Believe me!
Have an Emergency Comfort Food/Toy
We never leave the house without a lollipop or Jagabee French Fries, (those are Inigo’s favorite food). Sometimes we can’t really figure out what those tantrums are for and sometimes we need a solution ASAP. Bring out a lollipop and for sure, his tantrums will be cut short.
Study your child
I was really keen on checking what makes Inigo throw a fit at his classmates. I am aware that some of his classmate are his favorites while others are his constant adversary. Knowing who frequently picks a fight with him made me prevent it even before it would start.
Inigo is not afraid of anything but when someone shouts in a not joyous way, he can feel it and starts to feel embarrassed and starts crying. So whenever he is having a fight with a classmate, I make sure that I never shout, I just run towards him as fast as I can, take his hands off, direct him to a place where we can talk and calmly tell him that what he is doing is wrong. I don’t know if he fully understand it but I am hoping that by doing this, I would not magnify his wrong doing and he just forgets the whole thing and never repeat it.
Never Leave Him Alone
that was my mistake. One time, I was so confident that he was not hitting anymore based from yesterday’s class. Apparently, he had a run in with a new classmate whose the mother shouted which then made Inigo cry. I know it’s my fault and I asked myself as to why I put my son in a situation where he would doubt himself and feel alone. After that incident, while the mother was still catering to her crying baby, I talked to Inigo and told him that it was wrong and he should say sorry. He said sorry with vindication, though not loud enough to be heard by the other party, which for me is a milestone in our journey. His sincerity was heartfelt since his eyes were directed to the girl and his voice was so low and sweet. I also made sure to say sorry twice to the mother who was shocked.
Don’t Take It Personally
I always take everything personally so I normally end up emotionally drained. Our little human needs us to be stronger. When they throw tantrums, it is because they cannot understand what’s happening with them or they feel unsure of the world and they see us trembling down/getting angry at them. How should we expect them to react? As mothers, we are their constants and everything, we are their world. We should always make them feel that everything’s going to be alright. How? Don’t take their tantrums personally. When we take things personally this is where we worry about what other people will think of us rather than focusing on what our son/daughter needs right now, which is our stable devotion to them anytime of the day.
I really felt that I needed to blog about it for all the moms out there who is in the same boat as I am.
I want you to know that you don’t need to feel embarrassed and ashamed.
Almost every child goes through this. Some just don’t because they have a different personality and others are gifted with early talking too. I believe that constant reminders to our little one that it’s okay to feel this way but it’s never okay to hit someone will go a long way. Although it can’t be seen in the next 2-3 months, in my case, the incidents lessened as the time went by.
No mother is perfectly born with the right instincts.
We often stumble and succumb to our negative thoughts, but it is also our choice to let go of our inhibitions and let this up and down motherhood journey get the best of us!