Wednesday, April 11, 2012

How to handle a toddler tantrum - a pictorial tutorial

Some days, I stand with my chest puffed out and survey my surroundings thinking maaan I'm good at this parenting gig and that I deserve a freakin medal. Actually scratch that, I don't want a medal, I'll just have a sleep in.

And other days, I stand with my shoulders slumped and peer out from behind my hair thinking maaan I suck at this parenting thing. I get angry and frustrated at all the goddamn crumbs on the floor, I spend too much time telling Tricky "just one more minute" when I'm tweeting working and not doing housework. Dishes go undone and the piles of clean washing on my floordrobe are getting so high that I've started telling visitors it's actually a work of modern art meant to make a statement about consumerism. Strangely, no one believes me.

But I digress.

It is always on these days that Tricky throws a tantrum. Something about him picking up my anxious vibes, I'm told. I think it's that and a little helping of Murphy's law. Murphy is a fuckwit. If I ever meet him I'm going to knee him in the nuts. 

So, since I'm obviously mediocre at this parenting caper I thought I'd selflessly share what I've learned about toddler tantrums and how to de-stress after them, in picture form. You're welcome.

Sometimes your child will crack the shits for no good reason:

They may give you attitude when you serve them nutritious, organic food that you've made from scratch:

Or maybe they've decided to not eat your food at all and just pull faces at you:

They'll throw themselves on the floor, kicking and screaming so loud that people in neighbouring suburbs will wander outside expecting to find a cat being strangled on their doorstep. A toddler's ear piercing screams carry. Very well.

In all of these cases, you may very well become ultra stabby and look like this:

Because that mongrel Murphy is still around you will see someone you know as you give your tantruming devil-spawn the evil eye and threaten them with no food/toy/TV if they don't stop being silly and quit embarrassing you (because it's ALL about YOU). Now if parenting forums are anything to go by, all mothers are complete bitches who talk behind their friends' backs so this little tid bit of information will go around, probably on Facebook, until the whole world knows YOU ARE A BAD MOTHER WHO CAN'T CONTROL HER FERAL CHILD.

So in order to avoid (another) complete mental breakdown, now that the world's been told you're not SuperMum, the best way to chill out is to ensure you have a few key tools on hand at all times.

Alcohol. This is for you, not the child. I would consider giving it to the child like they used to do, but that would mean less for me and I do not share my wine. I recommend a hip flask so you can have some on hand at all times.

A bath tub to soak in, with optional candles and smelly, bubbly stuff too. Hard to carry around in your pocket, I know, but I've found those clam shell sand/water pits work almost as well. Pour in some bubbly stuff then simply drop your toddler in while they're tantruming and they will thrash around so much and agitate the water enough to foam up the bath. When the desired amount of bubbles are reached, handball the child to the nearest grandparent and jump in.

If all else fails or there is a distinct lack of alcohol and bubble baths, grab a dummy and sulk on Twitter where everyone else will tell you their parenting fails so you don't feel so bad.

Now that you're sufficiently whingey, pruney and tipsy, go to bed. Remember that tomorrow, when you wake up, it's a whole new day and it might just be fabulous.

How do you de-stress after a toddler tantrum?


  1. Mostly, I hide, with medication of choice and a computer.  When they were little I would put them in their cots/rooms and wait till they calmed down.  These days I do the same and walk away.  With wine....

  2. Cath @ Bump, Baby & BeyondApril 11, 2012 at 3:01 PM

    Arrgh - I really needed to read this today! My Mr 4 is making life somewhat tedious - especially of a morning. Won't eat breakfast, won't finish breakfast, won't get undressed, won't get dressed, can't find his hat.... No not that hat, or that hat, or that hat.. The OTHER hat,.. you get the idea. I SO want a dummy.

  3. I'm with Dorothy. Put the madam in her room, lock the door, run away where I cannot hear her... and pour a drink!

  4. Put them in their cot, close the door and turn on the vaccum cleaner. That way you get your neglected (in my case) housework done and you don't have to listen to their screaming....

  5. I don't do tantrums. I really do not. I tell my kids to go to their room and come out when they've calmed down.
    When they were younger I would pick them up, put them in their room, close the door over and leave them.
    Trying to reason/intervene during a tantrum is a hopeless cause. I dare anyone to judge me, because it fucking works for us.

  6. Oh Em Gee I had one mother of a public tantrum in the shops yesterday. So much so that the stroller was almost literally getting air, he was thrashing around so much, and the kind old lady let me go next instead of her, with a sympathetic "He's 2, isn't he?". No tips, just whinging!

  7. Story of my life at the moment! Fortunately Master Z is easily distracted, so has very little staying power and forgets quickly what the problem was :-) like others, with the doozies, I take him to his cot with a few books and I put the music on loud and potter around doing my jobs. Good down time for both of us!

  8. I complain. Then I complain some more. Then I throw my own Gone With the Wind style tantrum. I feel better after that.

  9. Oh, so cute. And to think I have all this (ALL this?!?) to look forward to.

  10. I'm past the point of toddler tantrums and now firmly entrenched in teenage tantrums! Thank God I have a boy or I don't think I'd survive. Me and Dan Murphy's we are like BFF's!!

  11. I have seen that scary face before.

    Scary Glow is scary.


  12. Oh Wine-o-clock was invented by a mother was it not? Sometimes it comes as early as 2pm in our house. i worry about it, but not much ;)

  13. Loved this! I would've added that I have gone to my room and screamed into a pillow. Rather cathartic for me. Even considered buying a punching bag for immediate relief also. 


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