Don’t tell me what to do!
Following on from last weeks toddler tantrum post, I thought I would look at this issue from my children’s point of view; and you know what, I get it! I too would tantrum (or at least want to throw a tantrum) if I was faced with some regular situations that our little ones are.
1. Expected to share your stuff
I hate sharing, there I said it. I have never been very good at it. Turn taking I get (although I would prefer it to be my turn always i.e. having control over the TV remote every night) but to expect children to share is nearly impossible. Imagine if your friends come over and you had to give them a turn with your laptop, or mobile? It’s mine!! Use your own one! Sharing is hard for adults let alone toddlers.
2. Expected to share food
One thing about toddlers is that they always want the food other have (lets face it they want anything anyone else has) but we always encourage them to share their food. In this respect my children are a lot better at this then me. Whilst I hide with my head in the cupboard to scoff chocolate before they notice, they happily hand bits of food to each other, me and their friends. This is a hard thing to do. Imagine going for dinner and to be expected to give half away because your friend fancies it to. Well actually this is probably not so hard to imagine, come to think of it this is what my husband always has to put up with as we all want whatever he orders. However I would be really frustrated, yet I always find myself saying ‘make sure you give some of that to your friend/ your brother’ etc.
3. Being told when you have to go home.
If I was having a good time with my friends and we were enjoying each others company I cant imagine I would just decide to leave. If someone then told me I had to go home mid fun, I would be really annoyed. Don’t tell me when I have to leave! I’m having a good time!! I completely understand why this is infuriating for toddlers.
4. Told What to wear
We have mega battles over this every single day in my house! I give my daughter 2 choices, but she has her own ideas. I tell her she can’t wear this or that because its doesn’t go, or its not weather appropriate or just because. Yet if anyone dared tell me I could wear something I would be livid. I will choose what I wear and it has nothing to do with anyone else.
5. Having little control over anything
Being a toddler is actually really frustrating. Not because they are being unreasonable (don’t get me wrong, this of course does also happen) but because its hard having someone else make all your decisions for you. This is made worse as they are just learning how to express themselves and may not yet have the language to explain why they are upset or cross. Of course they explode at times.
Its easy for us to get frustrated with our little ones or feel completely perplexed by their odd behaviour, but perhaps if we can sometimes take a step back and see it through their eyes we would get it. We would also perhaps learn from them and their responses. How liberating it would be to throw yourself down on the floor in protest when the world doesn’t go your way. Maybe they are on to something, throwing a wobbly at the time certainly ensures there are no grudges or tension later. Toddlers live in the moment, they get cross, tantrum, feel happy and forgive all in the moment. They express exactly how they feel when they feel it, not through words but actions. I would love to adopt some of these strategies. I think we would all feel frustrated if as adults we were expected to live within someone else’s ideas of what we should or shouldn’t do. Of course toddlers need structure and boundaries but it doesn’t mean its not annoying too.