It was a fail. An EPIC fail, really. It started with the simple request of playing a game on the computer except that request was made during too much chaos so the answer was no. The result was a temper tantrum and out of control behavior by all of us. The situation got the best of us.
Abby is currently in the whining, question asking, fight you every step of the way stage. I do get where she's coming from, if she doesn't understand why we say no then we have a full blown tantrum. I love that she questions things and even love that she tries to negotiate because I see it as a way for her to work on compromising.
HOWEVER, sometimes the answer is just NO and I am trying to teach her to respect the rules.
I usually try all the basic things to avoid the tantrum. She knows what to expect throughout the day and knows that there are consequences, like time out, for not listening.
Unfortunately, she doesn't seem to mind time out. She sits in time out and fake cries. Really. I'm not trying to be mean and say her tears aren't real. There are no tears. She literally yells, "Waahhh, waaaahhh, wwwwwwaaaaaaaahhhhh," the entire time she sits in time out and if you look at her, she laughs.
So, sometimes things get out of control due to frustration (and a high level of exhaustion). As I watched the situation spiral out of control, which was evident by the fact that Abby was putting all of her toys in a garbage bag so she could play on the computer, I thought about where it all went so wrong.
I realized that sometimes Abby just won't get it. It is my job to teach her things but it is also my job to phrase things in a way she will understand. I can not talk to her as easily as I talk to an adult because I have to make sure to choose my words carefully so that I am clear.
I also realized that making idle threats (like, "how about we throw away all your favorites toys just so you can play on the computer), WILL BACK FIRE. I knew this already, but now it's painfully obvious that I need to work on it.
What do you do when you realize the situation is hopeless? We changed scenery. I had her put her shoes on, while in pjs and in the midst of a tantrum, and take a walk outside with me. She got confused, which stopped the tantrum. I told her that we weren't going to talk while we walked up the street, we needed to be quiet to think (this was for me more than for her).
After we walked and thought for a moment, I looked down at her and realized that she is still so little. I think I forget that now that Lilly is here. She seems so much older. I scooped her up and apologized. I admitted that I let things get out of control and that wasn't fair to her. We had a heart to heart in simple, short sentences while I carried her back inside.
Before, we walked through the door, she looked at me and apologized. Without me asking her, she said she wanted to take her toys out of the garbage bags and that's just what she did when we got back inside.
From fail to save... in the end we got where we needed to be, but it sure was a bumpy ride! I am now trying to notice when I'm losing control or she is so caught up in emotion that she can't even hear me. When that moment hits, I have her go sit on her bed. I tell her that she's not in trouble but we both need a minute to calm down and then we will talk.
It's been working (knock on wood). She is much easier to talk to and I am able to remain in control of the situation.
How do you handle your parenting fails? How do you stay calm during a tantrum?