Welcome back readers!
So, I want everyone to picture this scenario: You are a parent, out running errands with your young toddler. One of your stops is a grocery store. In the middle of gathering items for that night’s dinner, your child decides he or she wants something they cannot have. You say no. Your child basically says fuck you. That normally sweet little one has become a writhing, demon-like creature who has now begun screaming while laying on the floor. Onlookers have gathered to provide an audience and you feel like crawling into your own body to escape.
What do you do? Do you let your child continue to scream until they grow tired? Do you stop them with a strong scolding? Or do you just pretend that angry, honey badger of a human isn’t yours and slowly walk away? I wish I had an answer for you, but honestly, I don’t. (Unless you picked the last one. Surprise, you’re an asshole! Hey, don’t be mad. Nine times out of ten, I would pick that one as well.)
My son has grown into the stage where he lets you know when he wants to do something (typically something he shouldn’t be doing) and does so LOUDLY. Usually this happens in a public setting and it garners some stares. I do my best to keep my voice calm and firm while explaining to him that it’s okay to be upset but he can’t do *(insert ridiculous toddler request here)* that. For now, he gets over his anger quickly. But I’m sure that sometime soon, I should start carrying four-leaf clovers or a horseshoe for luck when mine runs out.
Dealing with toddlers and their need to loudly express frustrations is an ongoing chess match for all parents. And there has been much advice provided by numerous sources on how to deal with these situations. Something I saw on social media recently has made me think a lot about this topic. I’m sure a majority of you saw this post featuring actor Justin Baldoni and how he handled his little one’s public tantrum.
Personally, my initial reaction to this article was that he gave some great advice. Looking back on what he DID, however, I began to think his reaction may not work for every toddler meltdown. I am by no means a parenting expert but I feel all the information shoved into our faces on how to handle childcare can make your head hurt.
And I feel that perhaps that is the reason why there are no definitive answers to this issue; every child and situation is different. Some children seem to respond better to being allowed to “cry it out” while others need a little stern redirection. And there are instances when the same child who likes to cry it out occasionally requires firm verbal guidance.
The point I’m trying to make is this; although I may not feel that Baldoni’s reaction will work for every tantrum or toddler, I do agree with what he says. As parents, we are the people who understand our kids the best. And they look to us to guide them in the proper fashion. So if your kid is the type who needs a moment to bawl their eyes out in public, then let them do so without judgement from you. If he or she is the type who requires a quiet but firm redirection, then do so without making an overt, embarrassed gesture.
Fuck all the judgmental stares or comments and just be a parent to your kids anytime they go nuclear. Always try to understand your little one is still developing his or her emotional spectrum and children require your compassion, not embarrassment. This way, they grow into empathetic adults instead of becoming idiotic onlookers passing judgement upon the next generation of parents with cranky toddlers.
-So how many of you parents (or family members caring for a little one) have had to deal with public meltdowns? How did you handle it? Feel free to comment below.