Recently, my toddler Billy has started to have the worst meltdowns. He will melt to the floor in a flood of tears if he is cannot get his way. These are the silliest things that he has a meltdown about. For example, he cracks it when he is not allowed access to the pantry cupboards, to change the channel on the TV, to put his shoes in the washing machine; and the list goes on. Little does he know that I am telling him no to these things for his own benefit. But in his little mind, it is simply about him wanting to do something and I am the person blocking his ability to do it. So, his reaction of meltdown in his little mind is justified. There is only so many times that you can say ‘no’ to a little person when they do not comprehend what is going on. This experience can be especially hard when your toddler does not have the words to speak to tell you what it is that they want or why.
So, I set my thoughts to how best to tackle the situation. Do I yell at him? Do I try to explain to him why he is not allowed to do it? Or do I just walk away and ignore? Do I just understand that these are part of a baby milestone that means he is growing up? But they are super annoying to deal with everyday!
Now, I will be the first to say that I am no expert, but I do think each situation comes with its own unique response. Ultimately, I think that the answer to this is time. Spend time sitting on the floor with a screaming child as much as it sucks to try to understand. Distract them with something new and engaging. Sometimes I am trying to do the washing and running super late for an appointment and it’s hard with a toddler screaming on the floor but then I remember that they are only little for such a short amount of time and that they don’t know what they are doing. Discipline at this age doesn’t sink into an undeveloped brain. I just try to figure out how to deflect from that moment for Billy, everything else can wait. He’s still getting to know me and I’m still getting to know him. I have embraced tantrums and both of us are better for it.