Parenting is a learning process in every realm of life, this is just another hurdle to overcome.
My daughter is now 22 months old. With her birthday coming up, I’ve noticed that the “terrible twos” are slowly and sporadically becoming a thing.
The best example of this is when we go shopping. Whether it be grocery or retail, she wants to walk. She loves being independent and walking is one of her ways of exuding this. As a SAHM, I often bring her to stores (or other places like the the library) just to get out of the house and experience different things. Before now, she would usually ride in the cart or her stroller and be fine with me pushing her around. However, as of late, she has not been content with Mama doing all of the walking. “Walk!” is often a shouted word at some point during our excursions. I’ll explain and say something along the lines of “Sweetie, you can’t walk right now, but how about you help mommy pick out some groceries.” Sometimes this works, for at least a little while, until she sees something interesting (like shoes…Oh, this girl loves her some shoes) and wants to walk some more. (I mean, shoes ARE for walking…)
Herein lies the problem of parenthood discipline. I find myself getting frustrated with her. I often compose myself before we start having a shouting match, but her attitude becomes intolerable. She will continue to yell and whine when I tell her that she needs to “calm down” or “you won’t get a snack if you keep yelling”. These tactics don’t always work when she’s already on a tantrum roll. Even when I ask her last resort things like, “do you want to hold onto mama’s phone?”, she yells “NOOooooo!” then scrunches her face and arches her body in frustration. I get it, she’s not even two and she understands a whole bunch of words but can’t express herself. I understand that it’s difficult being confused in this huge strange world. What frustrates me is purely selfish: I don’t want others to see her tantrum and think negative things, I don’t want to have to leave the store, I want her to be happy 24/7 – but these are just unrealistic thoughts. And on the other hand, if I give in to her tantrum, it only prolongs the issue.
Example: I once let her out of the shopping cart to explore the store. After a few minutes of her staying near me, she soon saw an exploring opportunity and was off. I was forced to run after her and leave the cart unattended. I saw that she was happy being “free”, but running into people and pulling things off of shelves was not good. She screamed when I picked her and people looked wearily in my direction, but they can just shut up. I have to remember that I’m a parent doing my best, and Lillian is an almost two-year old testing her independence. I don’t spank, it’s proven not to work and I know it would only make the situation worse. (Plus, I’d feel extremely guilty. I will most likely write another post about spanking, but here is a quote from a science-based article- “They found that spanking was associated with 13 out of a total of 17 negative outcomes they assessed, including increased aggression and behavioral and mental health problems as well as reduced cognitive ability and self-esteem.”Article Here. ) I explained to her what I was doing and then I gave her an option. She could sit in the basket or go home. She chose the basket (with a bit more yelling–hence prolonged issue and next time she might not be so compliant because I let her out), but she calmed down and we didn’t have to leave the store. I was spent after this episode and utterly appalled at the situation because she hadn’t really thrown a big tantrum in a store before.
Later, I realized that my feelings weren’t important during that moment. What mattered was making the right decision (which is not always the easiest) and making the circumstance better for all involved. Each and every situation that arises while being a parent is a lesson, whether it’s hidden or yelling at you in the face.