Parenting a 2-year-old child is Ah-mazing! Watching her learn more words, shapes, colors, numbers, letters and sounds is a joy to watch. It is in those moments that you cherish how sweet and innocent your child is. Then imagine a few moments later the record player stops and comes to a screeching halt. What was once a pleasant moment has been washed away by yelling, kicking/falling out on the floor and many more ways of awesome 2-year-old self-expression.
As a first time Mom, I had been thinking what is this “Terrible 2” that everyone is talking about? My daughter has been amazing. I don’t think that will happen to us. Maybe it is just depending on the child.
Well fast forward a few months after stating those words and I received an extra-large dose of reality!!! I feel like I am debating with a stubborn adult that wants their way. I know you are probably thinking I was in a fairy tale to believe my child wouldn’t experience the emotions that comes with being 2 years old.
I am quickly learning that I have to use those tantrums as teaching moments for both me and my child. Her all-time favorite place to have a meltdown and screaming fest is inside of restaurants. Now don’t be mistaken, I am not concerned about what the other patrons may think because I know that they have been in my place before, even if they have selective amnesia. Besides, my child is the priority and not their judgy eyes and stares, okay! I need to better understand what my daughter needs so she can calm down so that is my focus.
To help her, I usually kneel down to her level and ask her to look me in the eye and tell me what she needs. Sometimes she stops her meltdown immediately and begins to get a few words out and other times, I have to ask her a few times before she responds. I want her to know in these moments that I am listening to her and that I want to help her to work through her feelings.
Don’t let your own feelings of embarrassment cause you to escalate the situation because you need other adults to believe you have it under control. Your child needs you to be the rational one in the scenario. If you are getting just as frustrated as the child then how does that resolve anything?
I know it is sometimes hard to handle a fussy toddler, but this too shall pass. Your child won’t be at this age for long and they need you to help navigate this big world. Your child is watching how you respond and taking cues from you.
As you are in public and see a Mom with a child having a meltdown, instead of judging her, why don’t you have empathy and give her a smile, encouraging words or consider a nice gesture you can do. You can also say a little prayer for her strength and patience to nurture and teach her child. Motherhood is hard at times and trust me she is not trying to ruin your day.
We are all in this (mother)hood together, so the more we help another Mom, the bigger the impact we can have on her life, which in turn impacts her children and our world.