I take care of a 5-year-old. It’s my job. I also take care of a three-year-old. This is, you know, part of my job. The girls are professionals at throwing tantrums. My tantrum philosophy is Ignore It. When you Ignore It, you are telling the child that they can’t use that means of communication. I’ve noticed with the three-year-old that if I simply Ignore It, the tantrum is over in less than five minutes. After that time, she becomes her usual sunny, happy self. It’s quite funny, actually, to watch her go from “NO!! You!! NO!! I don’t want you!!!” to “I found a sticker today.” Simple as that.
The 5-year-old has had more practice in the art of tantrums, and although she knows that my “no” means exactly that, she still fights for what she wants. The three-year-old worked herself into a tizzy quite a few times last week, and the 5-year-old and I could look at each other and roll our eyes, sigh, and laugh about it together. Why, then, is it so hard for the 5-year-old to see the silliness in her own tantrums? She can look right at her sister and think her tantrum is outrageous, but when she’s in her own world, wanting what she wants, it’s serious business.
It reminds me of myself. That sometimes I look at others and think “what gives?” I want to shake them by the shoulders, look them in the eyes and say “grow up.” Why can’t I do that to myself? Why can’t I see my own ridiculous actions from an objective viewpoint and talk myself out of it?