Yesterday I was talking about when a child has a very public tantrum, or simply is upset in public. It’s harder sometimes to handle things with your heart when you feel the ridicule of others in your head.
I have been lucky that on occasion people have voiced their opinions to me—their supportive opinions—as I mentioned yesterday. Offering a bit of validation to a parent trying to bring their child back from the brinks of over-reaction can be a wonderful gift for the parent and that child.
I have noticed that Azita’s worst upsets are when an expectation has been unmet. Kids expect the world from us. I think they expect us to be infallible at times. So when an adult does something that messes with her expectation of how she thought something would go, it really shakes her and sets her off. Such as, when she was abundantly happy she was getting a “baby” watermelon at Sam’s Club and had asked me to let her give it to the clerk. Then another clerk walked up to help, grabbed the watermelon from the cart, and it was “booped” (to quote Azita) before anything could be done about it.
I felt them looking at me while Azita freaked out to the nth degree. But I stayed calm and handled it how I felt I should. In minutes in the car she was calm. I asked her what I should do when something has made her that upset, and she told me to just take her home. I think I’ve mentioned this story before, but this time, my point is that the people that may or may not be judging you do not see how you handle it at home. They don’t know any of that, any more than they know if a child that gets yelled severely in public gets absolutely indulged at home. I know my kids have limits. Being genuinely upset about something and learning life lessons simply happens, and I refuse to be mean to my children over it.
Kin to public parenting is parenting around family. This one can be harder, because these are the people that will see you and your child again. A few weeks ago, we left my in-laws house around 7—we usually leave at 8:30. Azita has started school and was extremely tired and we need to stick to her new bedtime.
She ran away from me, cried, yelled, the whole nine. But she very clearly communicated “But I just wasn’t expecting to leave so early”.
So she shouldn’t yell at me, yes. So she lost it, yes. But isn’t the more important part there how clearly she was able to tell me her feelings?
Again, with her at least, it comes back down to those expectations. She flipped out because she thought we’d stay all night—indeed, we usually do.
My mother-in-law has an extremely hard time seeing my children cry. She tries to promise money and gifts when I am being “mean” to them, I imagine is how she sees it. That’s a whole different post about annoying things but what’s funny here is that the way I handle Azita may seem too easy to the random onlooker, and too hard to someone else! I put Azita in the car and I take her home. Hard not to lose your temper when your child is kicking you, sure, but I just put her in the car and go. That is what I do. When we were at home, she went to bed pretty easily.
Ada will have different struggles. When Azita is tired, and over stimulated, she falls apart. She doesn’t regulate herself well. When Ada gets like that, she sits down quietly by herself and plays alone. We will have different battles and lessons with each.
Which is a central theme in how I see parenting—know your child and treat her or him accordingly.
You often hear people say “You need consistency”. You do sometimes, but other times, I am an advocate of flexibility.
I know one child that is not allowed to cry when she is upset. I don’t know that that is what the mother was going for or not, but it is the result. When she gets upset about something, she is swiftly yelled at and a privilege taken away or time out or something. She cries, she get yells at. Nearly every time I’ve ever seen.
The mother was complaining that the child beats her head and does self-destructive behavior when she is upset and she doesn’t understand why. It seems clear to me. The child is so afraid of being yelled at for feeling however she feels that she tries to squash emotions whenever they come up, and this mom can’t see that she is causing it herself. I won’t do that to my kiddoes, people can think they are “spoiled” if they like.