Anyone who’s had a child this age has had several of these moments.
You know, the ones where you wonder why the hell you chose to become a parent and maybe you brought the wrong child home from hospital because this one CAN’T POSSIBLY be yours.
I was watching one of these little angels in a department store the other day; his mother, bless her, wouldn’t give in to his demands (heaven knows what he wanted because I’m fairly certain that he’d lost the plot so long ago that he had no idea what he wanted any more) and he was sobbing like his life was about to end. As they do.
This adorable little angel then proceeded to pretty much shove his fist up his left nostril whilst still sobbing, perhaps because of the pain of getting his fist up there, who knows, and wipe the prolific contents of his nasal cavities all over his face and neck.
Presumably to dry his fist.
His mother still wouldn’t give in and I honestly felt like running over and kissing her feet! What an AWESOME mother! You go, girl! It takes a very special mother to hold firm in the snotty face of a screeching 5 year old.
Over the years though, there are one group of parents who absolutely NEVER – and I mean NEVER – have a problem with kids of this age.
We’ve lived in rural/semi rural areas for a good few years now and we seem to have amassed friends who come from good, solid farming stock and one thing they have in common is they’re BIG. I mean, those guys are HUGE! They must have been raised on a diet of pure steak with beef for dessert!
Along with the size comes a certain kind of solidity, not just in the physical sense, but a solidity of character and energy. They don’t do anything quickly. They think their way through things, one step at a time. They rarely lose their temper.
And those little darling pre-schoolers don’t stand a chance with them.
It’s gloriously satisfying to watch.
I was in the car after drop off one morning and one of those big farmer-type guys was crossing the road with his 4 year old, who promptly did what 4 year olds do when they want something: he threw himself to the ground in a full body tantrum, screaming his head off and kicking his arms and legs.
Now, most mothers I know (myself included at times) would want to die of embarrassment at this point. They might try to “talk” to little Henry and explain to him how silly he looks right now. When that doesn’t work, they might move on to tempting Henry by reminding him that his friends are waiting for him at school. That generally doesn’t work, either, possibly because the little darling has by now figured out that if he goes on for long enough in public, mum will give in to his egotistical demands.
This, however, was Dad he was dealing with and Dad has grown up dealing with small headstrong animals for his whole life. Dad merely watched the screaming youngster for a few seconds, bent down, picked him up BY HIS BACKPACK using one hand and carried on walking paying absolutely no attention to the squirming, squealing creature dangling from his hand.
Oh my god! Payback, you little s**t!
One of our friends has four boys. He’d give his wife a break every now and then and take the boys out
TO A CAFÉ!!!
He would take four boys aged 8 and under to a café.
The difference between him and most mothers is that he didn’t EXPECT his boys to sit quietly; they are, after all, boys. Boys are noisy. Boys are full of movement. Boys want to explore and discover things. Boys do not want to sit on a chair and occupy themselves while their parent enjoys a nice chat or does some work. Most boys don’t anyway and certainly not four boys together.
He EXPECTED his boys to run around, so he took them to a café with a garden.
He EXPECTED his boys to be noisy so he made them stay outside.
He EXPECTED them to spill their drinks and make a mess, so when they did both those things, he wasn’t upset or disappointed or anything because he KNEW they were going to do that.
He expected them to be wrestling and playing footie. If other kids wanted to join in, they’d better know the rules because he wasn’t going to supervise too closely and he certainly wasn’t going to hover over the kids to make sure they played fair; that’s all part of learning how to behave around other kids as far as he’s concerned. He wasn’t going to allow any fighting and once he’d laid the rules down he EXPECTED them to be kept. End of story. There were no threats, he just told them that if they wouldn’t like something done to them then they shouldn’t do it to someone else and he was going to be very disappointed if they didn’t keep to that.
He EXPECTED them to behave like kids and he EXPECTED them to behave like young boys. He rarely got stressed out around his kids and they rarely played up for him.
I know that it’s a different relationship when you’re the primary carer but I took a few lessons away from those guys about realistic expectations. I never quite managed to handle my pre-schooler with quite the aplomb that these guys do, though!
How do you handle your little one’s tantrums? Share with us in the comments.