By Guest Blogger Aleesha King (@leesh_king)
We have all seen her.
That mother trying to desperately reason with her screaming child in the middle of the aisle as she is getting kicked in the shins and slapped in the face (or in my case the boobs, always goes for the boobs).
Take me back three years and I would have been throwing her dirty glances like all the other people walking past her, trying to sidestep that creature rolling around on the floor.
But now, I catch her eye and we exchange the sympathetic "I know what you are going through" look.
Oh god do I know.
I'm not going to lie to you, I had the perfect textbook child (please note I used the word HAD).
My son was sleeping through the night at four weeks old, never fussed or cried and was the most delightful happy-go-lucky baby.
The first year was bliss.
And then BAM.
Then came the defiant, independent, screaming monster that my son has turned into. Don't get me wrong, I love him to death. But a lot of the time I just don't like him.
Some nights he is throwing himself across the floor because I served his dinner in the blue bowl instead of the green bowl, or he shut himself in his room and started kicking the walls because I refused to let him go and play outside at 4am in the morning (why he enjoys tormenting me at that ungodly hour is beyond me).
After a trying day, I jumped on Dr Google and researched methods to approach this tiny monster when he loses control. One suggestion was to get down to his level and explain what he did wrong and address him like an grown up to make him feel important.
Hmm, that sounded easy enough!
So in the middle of a throw down over wanting to wear his winter lightening McQueen pajamas on a 38° degree summer night, I took his hands and kneeled down .
"Eli.." I began in a calm but serious tone.
Unfortunately what came next wasn't a Kodak moment.
I got spat in the face, titty slapped and laughed at.
Humiliated, i picked him up and sat him on his bed quite roughly and slammed his door shut. I then ran into my room and cried.
Was I such a useless parent that I had lost control over my two year old?
Every day was becoming such a struggle that we hardly left the house. I was stressed, upset and defeated all the time.
Then it hit me.
If I'm feeling this way, how is my son feeling?
How am I making him feel by constantly yelling and screaming at him?
Parenthood is god damn hard and we have to learn to deal with feeling so many different emotions in one day. Happy, sad, angry, calm, frustrated, cheerful. Sounds like i'm describing the symptoms of bipolar!
I have come to understand that positivity is the key! Even if you're smiling through your teeth.
When they are unconsolable, don't walk away from them and let them cool down. That may work on your husband but children take that as abandonment. If you sit there with them being the cool, calm and collected figure they will feel secure and loved.
And those chips and chocolate muffins? Leave them in the pantry for your late night snack. Removing junk food from your toddlers diet will help SO much. Too much sugar over stimulates their little minds and can send them into overdrive. Yes this includes the fizzy drink - put it down and pick up the bottle of water.
If you have a toddler and a baby like we do (seemed like a good life decision at the time), be sure to spend one on one time with each of them. Jealousy is another reason we found our son was acting out and doing ridiculous things, like throwing my makeup in the toilet and attempting to flush it. Well, he certainly got my attention!
There is no right and wrong way to approach your child's behaviour. Each toddler is different and what works for one family might not work for another.
Just remember, they are trying to figure this all out just like we are.