Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Source of Contention

This was one of those heart attack moments for me. I turned around and he was standing in the rocking chair, which is not a small chair, looking at me as if waiting for the verdict on whether or not this was breaking the rules. I could not believe he was capable of this, he's learned to climb in and out of his small stroller which is close to the ground, but I had no idea he could do this.

We are really lucky with Aiden, he's always been pretty mild mannered and follows directions pretty well for a seventeen month old, but this climbing thing has opened up a whole new issue. For safety reasons we don't want him climbing on anything unless we're standing right there with him, but constantly telling him "No climbing" has in turn started tantrums.

Tantrums at first really scared me, I kept thinking he was hurt or something was terribly wrong, but soon realized he's just expressing himself the only way he can right now. When he has a tantrum usually it involves throwing things, or trying to pinch or hit. This sort of behavior tends to spiral out of control, especially when you keep saying "No" or trying to stop him. Then, we discovered cure: when he starts into a tantrum, I scoop him up and hug him. These aren't like the tantrums an older child might throw for attention, these are just him expressing anger, and emotion like that is not easily reversed or controlled, not by an adult and especially not by the poor toddler who doesn't even understand what he's feeling. Just hugging him, explaining why we say "No" and telling him he's okay nips the whole episode in the bud. Even as an adult I can understand the feeling of your emotions getting out of control, and for a small child it must be frightening.

When Sean and I figure out how to deal with things like this, even simple issues like an angry toddler, it is so validating as a parent. It's one of the moments when you feel like "yes, we can do this".

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