Thursday, December 16, 2010

tantrums and my own issues

Lately I've been struggling with my responses to Noah's meltdowns. Like screaming-in-my-face-in-the-middle-of-Chapters meltdowns. Like throwing-metal-cars-across-the-room meltdowns.
Everything in me just melts down into one emotion: pure rage. And then embarrassment if we're somewhere public. And then frustration because I don't know how to
I read somewhere {Raising Boys, maybe?} about testosterone surges in boys at ages 3 and 7 and then of course during puberty I think. This would explain the pure rage and anger Noah exhibits, but how to explain mine?
I've mostly been able to keep it under check but it's definitely a wake up call that I need to work through my issues of control and pride {because that's what causes my embarrassment in a public situation}.
But it's frustrating to feel like I'm back here again. Working through these issues all over again.

Today I decided to play out a future situation with Noah.

Me: Noah, we're going to Hannah's house after lunch. And we're going to stay and play there for awhile. But after awhile we're going to have to leave and come back home. So when I say "Noah. It's time to go." You need to say, "Okay Mom." and then we'll get our coats and boots on. Okay?

Noah: Okay.

Me: So let's practice. Noah. We're having a fun time at Hannah's house but it's time to go.


Me again: So what do you need to say?

Noah: Um...okay Mom. Boots and coats, now?

We rehearsed this a few more times and I also reminded him of this in the car on the way there.
While we were there we had a minor struggle for a diaper change {more on our goal of The Great Potty Training of 2011 later} and I reminded him of his response when I would soon tell him that it was time to go.

And then when it was worked! He said, Okay! {and then quickly asked if he could watch something on tv while I prepared dinner when we got home.}
So all the rehearsing worked. I wasn't a believer of the practicing and preparing beforehand in the past, but I guess I needed to actually get him to say the words and pretend. I think it helped a lot.

I hope this will help the rage in our household. Because Jude watches and is The Ultimate CopyCat in his spitting and hitting and saying "NO!". It's shocking because he's so young, and kinda scary at how much he picks up from watching Noah so I'm really trying hard to set firm ground rules of expected behaviour because I do NOT want my children screaming in my face, much less anyone else's!

It's truly a good thing they are so cute because all I have to do is look at pictures like these {no matter how my day has been} and my heart goes to mush.


  1. Hey Van,

    I might not have kids, but know that I get your feelings of frustration with your reactions to your kids ... I struggle with the same thing sometimes when teaching. And yes, it's hard when we're back there again, for what feels like the millionth time.
    Thank God for His grace, and that He can still work through our screw-ups!

  2. This is a great post! I am a new follower- we have lots in common! :)

  3. Rehearsing!? Genius. I am so glad i have an older sister who blogs her world :) I love those pics, got a few more heart mushing ones I"ll email them to ya!

  4. I echo your sis! SO great to watch and learn and hear what works! Thanks for sharing. Hope this continues to work

  5. I rehearse/remind C of the same thing!

    "remember last time, we had trouble staying calm when it was time to go? it wasn't fun to be upset, was it? so THIS time, what are we going to do when i say we need to leave?"

  6. Um, you'd think I would have tried this by now with FOUR KIDS and all but you are genius. I totally need to do this with Gray.

    Also, you are adorable!


  7. i am living this tough! seeing your own anger rise to heights you thought you'd never experience in the stay-at-home-mom context is scary. and sad. and hard! but God is with us. and parenting these wonderful kiddos is part of our sanctification and He is changing us! little by little...And what do the books say about little girls having such intense fits of rage? (not sure it's just a boy thing!)

  8. You've seen my tweets lately about "3" and yes, especially for boys, it's a tough age for both son and mother. I'm also trying to keep my own behavior in check and I think that the fact that your rehearsed his response was wonderful! Excellent tip! I've come to find that the best way (obviously) to handle the rages and tantrums is just to stay as calm yourself as you can, but often times that's hard, I know. I've certainly had my moments... hugs friend. We Mommies are in this together!! :)

  9. Hey V,

    WOW. that is so...honest...and open of you. It scared me a little, because you and Jamie are SO good at parenting and if GOOD parents have screaming children...well, lets just say we might wait a little while longer before trying to have our own. But ya, I dont have anything inspirational to add or anything, I just...I just think its really great that you're so honest about it all...AND, I hope you figure it all out so that when I have kids, I know the answers right away. :) Love ya. And the adorable boys!

  10. You blog my life! *hehe* Maybe it's that we both have 2 boys, pretty much the same age. I am with you on everything in this post! We are incorporating that same behavior tweaking with Kyler right now... works here and there. I am just happy that he seems to understand now when he is making bad choices in his behavior. It may not stop all future outbursts, but he seems to understand why I have to address it.

    And I am with you - it's their adorable smiles and one-in-a-million- personalities that keep my spirits up!

    Stay strong and thanks for sharing!!!!

  11. i feel you with the pride when they are behaving in public. with 5 now, i've mostly let it go because i will NOT allow them to win or manipulate me just because i'm embarrassed....but it is always still there.

    i agree whole-heartedly with the preparation. it really does work. i tend to lay it out and then practice. "when we are [here] i expected you to talk in quiet voices & say OK! when it is time to leave. if you choose to disobey mommy, your consequence will be _____." even at 3, they get this. and this way is so much easier than saying 'be a good girl.' what exactly does that mean?

    all that said.....i have many faults and don't have it all figured out. this just does usually work for us & i'm glad it is for you, too.


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