Posted in Parenting

Ups & Downs

Ups and Downs

Charles is a very sweet little boy.  He is just full of love.  He runs on hugs, kisses and cuddles; these are what fuel his days.  However, like most (if not all) 4 year-olds, he lacks the abilities to express exactly how he feels and the strategies to deal with his emotions when they bubble up.

Charles is also very intense and his emotions are always very close to the surface.  He’s not happy, he’s elated.  He’s not hurt, he’s near-death.  He’s not sad, he’s heartbroken.  He’s not irritated or angry, he’s (and please forgive the language) fucking pissed.

A couple of days ago, for instance, he completely lost it when I told asked him to get ready for bed.  Because of the busy weekend, Charles missed out on naps and ended up going to bed later than usual, so I decided to have him go to bed a little earlier than usual.  He was more than annoyed.  He decided to show his displeasure by shutting the washroom door on his little sister’s fingers because she happened to look at him while he was pouting.  Then, when I asked him to apologize, he completely lost it.  He started screaming at me, kicking, hitting me and throwing things at me.  I told him that I was going to let him calm down.  He stayed in his room a good five minutes, letting loose primal scream after primal scream.  After that, we were able to talk.

This time of the year is always very difficult.  Income-tax season is difficult on everyone around here, but it is especially difficult for Charles.  Every year, the weeks following the end of the month of April are difficult.  Charles struggles with the the fact the he missed his dad during his 60 hour weeks.  He struggles with the joy that he felt when his dad takes the first week of May off to spend with his siblings and himself and with the sadness brought about by his return to work afterwards.

I feel poorly equipped to handle his outbursts.  We are always able to have a good talk afterwards.  He is always able to tell me how he could have worked out his anger or frustration differently.  I always repeat to him that I love him no matter what.  That I love him as much when he is kind and happy than I do when he is angry, yelling and throwing things at me.  I know better than to try to talk to him when he’s out of control, but I lack the tools to help him manage his emotions in the short lapse of time that occurs between frustration and utter meltdown.

How do you go about helping your little ones manage overwhelming emotions?


Thirty-something year old discovering the joys and bumps of motherhood.

10 thoughts on “Ups & Downs

  1. I’m obviously not there with my bubs yet but I commend you on knowing not to press things when he is having a meltdown. That usually never bodes well for anyone. Hang tough, sounds like you are doing an awesome job.

  2. Oh I am long out of practice in dealing with pre-schooler emotions. My son was a lot like Charles when he was small. That was about 25 years ago so I can’t remember how we got through it, but I do remember feeling like I needed to walk around on eggshells with him sometimes. Patience is the only advice that I have, and continue with the talks afterwards. My son is a happy, healthy, and well balanced adult so whatever I did way back then worked (maybe?). With my youngest daughter we had a Boxer that absolutely loved her. He needed to have her in his eyesight every minute. Whenever she would have a tantrum or unnecessary crying fit Sarge would start whining and howling really loud – I would look at her and say – Maddie look what you’re doing to poor Sarge! She would immediately stop crying and give Sarge a hug then forget about whatever it was that had caused her fit! He was the best babysitter helper! 😀

    1. Walking around eggshells is a very appropriate description of how I’ve been feeling lately! Thanks for the support, I’m definitely keeping the talks. As for patience, well, I guess I have no choice really. I only have about 20-21 years left until his frontal lobe is completely developed haha!

      It’s so cool that your dog was able to help your daughter calm down. Awww. Love the name Sarge by the way!

  3. Charles est tellement près de ses émotions qu’il ne sait pas encore comment les exprimer – c’est vraiment comme tu le décris – il a besoin de décanter ces “crises” avant de confier ce qu’il ressent ou ce qu’il veut vraiment. C’est le plus gentil des garçons – tu es la meilleure des mamans, j’en suis persuadé. Le SOLEIL viendra mettre un baume sur ces sautes humeur….bises l’agm xxx

  4. Tu es une très bonne mère. La meilleure chose à faire est de rester calme… Plus facile à dire qu’à faire. C’est normal qu’il réagisse en faisant des crises. Tu n’as qu’à le laisser faire. Si ça dérape, un time out dans sa chambre. Après, lui parler, l’aider à s’exprimer et lui dire que tu l’aimes. Tu fais ça très bien. xoxoxo

  5. Bin moé je pense qu’il a raison le petit, c’est pas fair de le faire se coucher plus tôt parce que tu as faite le ”party” Pauvre petit ! 😛

  6. My son is 28 years old so it has been a while. Where are the owners manuals that should come with children? 🙂 I remember when my son would be crying and screaming, I would calmly keep to what I was doing and start making the same noises he did. Not in the angry tone but a mimic, if you will. I’d hear silence and look at him and he’d be looking at me like I was crazy. lol But it would calm him to where we could work through it. I guess maybe seeing a mirror of ones self causes him to stop, or maybe it was just a redirect? I don’t know but it worked to where it would diffuse it enough so we could get a calmer playing field. Sorry for the slow reply on this but I was away for a while 🙂

    1. I know right! Seriously, babies should come with, at the very least, a troubleshooting guide hehehe. When my son whines I typically imitate him, but I’ve never thought of doing it when he is throwing a fit. I should probably give it a try, it might actually throw him off balance. At worst, he’ll just hit me (which he typically does anyways when he’s too far gone to reason with). No need to apologize for a slow reply, glad to see you back around :D.

      1. I would do it and not even realize he had stopped until I noticed it was just the sound of me I heard LOL. He’d be looking at me like I was nuts. I never did it in the same tone he was using, just imitated the noises, if that makes sense. Hope it works 🙂 Praying for you and him 🙂

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