My wonderful son has recently decided to explore the wonderful world of tantrums. You see, he is somehow under the impression that if he screams at the top of his lungs, cries as hard as he can, throws kicks, hits and goes in the corner of the room to pout, he’ll get what he wants.
I suppose that part of it is my fault. I mean, when he first started his pouting spells (seriously, he crosses his arms and stomps his way to a corner somewhere), I couldn’t help but chuckle. In fact, his dramatic demeanor still makes me smirk when he gets angry with his father or I.
Then, last week, I broke a whole lot of rules with regards to eating. I mean, he got sick (ran a fever for the first time an all) and refused (categorically refused) to eat or drink anything for a little over 24 hours. It was no fun. He was miserable. I was miserable. So, I snuck a fruit platter beside him as I zombified him in front of some Baby Einstein (lo and behold, he ate and drank!). I also allowed him to sit on my lap for a couple of meals so that I could coax some nutriments into his body.
It seems, though, that even though my rule-breaking was short-lived (we’re talking a few meals over the course of two days here), my son decided that it meant that rules were made to be broken.
Of course, perhaps I had nothing to do with it. Perhaps it’s just his inherited double stubbornness (yup, he got the hard-headed gene from both his father and I) that is causing the tantrum. Perhaps, he’s just there developmentally.
In any event, I need to arm myself (both with patience and strategies) because meal-times in particular have become nightmarish.
You see, yesterday morning, the little guy decided to initiate a power struggle with me for breakfast. He wanted to have his breakfast in my arms. I wanted him to have his breakfast sitting at the table. I even got my psychology out and figured that if I gave him some measure of control, he might be cooperative. I gave him the choice between sitting in his high chair and sitting in his booster chair. No dice! I gave him the choice between his favourite soy-based yogurt and toast with a raspberry spread. He would have nothing to do with it.
So I put him in his high-chair, placed his two meal choices in front of him (which he immediately proceeded to push on the table) and calmly ate my own breakfast as he screamed and cried and twisted and turned to try to get out of his chair. This isn’t the first time he’s acted out at mealtime. But it seems to be getting worse. I know that he obviously won’t let himself starve to death and though I love the little guy to death and am ready to compromise to some measure, I am certainly not going to let him have his way at 17 months old.
So, I’m turning to you all. Any ideas as to how I can approach this tantrum-throwing? What has worked for you?