My three year old daughter has had a tantrum every single day this year. At least that only makes it three days … so far.
On New Year’s Day, we knew it was because she stayed up way past her bedtime the night before, trying to make it till midnight to watch the New Year’s Eve fireworks on the telly.
Yesterday it was because she wanted to go have lunch at IKEA and I didn’t feel like driving for more than half an hour just to go there.
Today it was a battle of the wills. When it was bath time she said she wanted to go nap. I took this as a sign that she was too sleepy and needed to get to bed. So we did and after I don’t even know how long, she decided to get up and wanted a bath. When I looked at my watch it was already almost 8pm, so I told her it was sleep time. And that was the beginning of it. It escalated because I refused to do what she asked of me and then she hit my arm and screamed in my face.
We are trying to teach her that we never hit someone out of anger and frustration and this was a perfect opportunity to demonstrate the consequences. We’ve adopted the Montessori parenting style of no rewards and punishments, so she suffers the consequences of her actions instead. In this case, it was not getting what she wanted (even though the tantrum started because I didn’t give her what she wanted haha)
Anyway, the poor thing has such a temper on her that it really takes a toll on her. I can see she needs a lot of help, patience and guidance when it comes to dealing with anger and frustration with such a fiery personality. And to complicate things more, she is actually quite sensitive and her feelings are easily hurt.
She would scream and hit me. I would get up and tell her I don’t like being screamed at and hit, then tell her I am going to leave the room unless she did the right thing i.e. apologise (she is currently learning how to do this too). Then she would apologise and I would stay. But then she didn’t want me near her because she was mad at me but at the same time she didn’t want me to leave and wanted cuddles! (OMG I already dread puberty!) Then when I moved towards her to cuddle her she would recoil and push me away!
We went round and round in circles like this several times and my patience wore thin. I was getting quite mad.
Then at one point as I lay on the bed being careful not to be too near her, she says to me softly, “Mama, your heart is broken.”
What a curious thing to say in that situation. I thought perhaps she was referring to me being broken hearted because she has upset me and made me angry.
“Why do you say that, sweety?” I asked.
“Because you don’t love me anymore.”
Awwww she thought my heart was broken because it stopped working because she thought I stopped loving her! I guess that’s 3-year-old logic right there!
I find it so fascinating how very young children express their feelings, ideas and knowledge with the limited vocabulary they know. It reminds me of that time we were eating cheese and bacon balls at the park and as I walked off with the packet, she yelled out, “Meatballs, meatballs, ham and cheese!”
She was only one-and-a-half years old.😂
Back to my broken heart, I explained to her that I never ever stop loving her, even when I get mad at her. It took lots of hugs and kisses before she seemed convinced.
In the end, she fell asleep just before the clock struck 10pm. *SIGH* And we started bedtime at 7!
I suppose at the end of the day, after all the tantrums and tears, if I can make her feel loved before she drifts off to sleep, I’m not doing too bad at this parenting thing. And now I need to drift off to sleep because frankly, I’m emotionally drained!