They say that kids go through cycles-from peaceful behaviors to challenging parents at every turn. We are in a challenging cycle. The last week Emily has been a ball of emotions. She cries over everything: toys, clothes she can't find, food, wanting to go out etc.
A good example of Emily's latest emotional breakdowns was Will's birthday party. She spent the whole first half hour in her room alone because she wanted spaghetti and we were serving pizza. So she ran off and started crying in her room. No amount of coaxing could bring that girl out. Her friends and cousins were in the back yard wondering where she was and even they could not get her out to play.
Today I was frustrated and a little short with the dramatics of it all. She threw a fit about nothing and ended up in time out where she stayed screaming, kicking and yelling at me for 20 minutes. Once she finally calmed down, she had to go get her pajamas on and ended up throwing a fit over finding a certain pair of pajamas (that I swear don't even exist). So we were back to tears and sadness over nothing and I couldn't handle any more. Off to bed she went, I didn't want to hear it anymore.
So after all the dramatics of the last week I sit here wondering- What is going on?! My sweet little Em who has been such an angel for the last few months has been replaced by this weeping, sobbing, temper tantrum throwing crazy girl.
So what I find out by doing some research is 3 is worse than the terrible 2's. What?! Where was that memo? I thought I was through it already, only to find out it gets worse? Oh geez.
Growing independence is partly to blame as they have a desire to do for themselves and decide for themselves which doesn't always fit into our agenda as parents. We forget that, although, they have the language skills at 3 to not throw tantrums and cry, they still haven't mastered it yet. So in a time of stress- fear or emotional, they will revert to what they have mastered- the crying, whining and tantrums.
What can we do to diffuse this situation? Calm but strong parenting. Keep control of your frustrations and be firm with your stance. I think sometimes this is my weakness. After days on end of constant crying and tantrums I AM frustrated and irritable. Be consistent! React the same way for each tantrum, whether its time out, taking a toy away or trying to change their focus. For us, its time out in the corner. It was her room but she started having too much fun in there with her dress up and toys. Coach them on a better way to act. When Emily is whining for something, I always tell her "use your words and ask politely because it's easier to help you". When she comes out of time out, I explain to her what she did wrong and a better way to have acted.
I hope these tricks work for me and my little drama queen. I hope the stage doesn't last forever (although it feels like it will). As all things go with parenting though- they will get older, they will change, and we will wish for these moments back again...eventually.
April 29th: Saturday Sharefest
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