Before you get too far into reading this post, I want to wholeheartedly admit that I’m very guilty of doing the exact opposite of what I’m advocating. However, for your benefit, as well as my own, I’m going to share 3 reasons why you shouldn’t let your toddler’s behaviour dictate your emotions.
It is so hard. It’s 4:30 pm and you’re trying to get the dinner on. Your toddler is begging for more snacks, even though it feels like they’ve been eating all day long. When you say no, the tantrum that follows is predictable. You think, “Can bed time arrive any sooner?!”. I’ve been there. I AM there. Well, it’s not exactly 4:30 pm, but every day there are meltdowns. Every day there is behaviour from my toddler that wears away at me. I know I shouldn’t let his behaviour affect my emotions, but I will admit that it does almost daily.
There are some very real reasons why I (and you) shouldn’t let it, though.
1. You Need to Be the Calm
No one can deny that toddlers emotions are erratic. One minute they can be giggling hysterically, and the next they’re having a total meltdown because the cracker broke in half. It’s exhausting. Here’s the thing, though. They’re learning. They have yet to master controlling their emotions. I mean, hey, I’m still working on that one!
Essentially, they’re all over the place. This is where you come in. You need to be the calm. I think you’ll agree that if you’re panicking about something, and you go to another person who is also panicking, your panic doesn’t lessen, it intensifies. The same is true with your child. If you allow their emotions to control yours, you will only be adding fuel to the fire per say.
Your child needs a place of calm. They need you to be their constant. This is so important.
I think most of us have heard the phrase:
“If mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!”
It’s so true! A mother’s mood undeniably affects the tone of the household. Be the calm that your child needs and everyone will be much happier.
2. It Will Rob You of Your Joy
There are many things that can rob us of our job, but I’m going to say that we are in control of the vast majority of them. No, we’re not necessarily in control of the circumstances, but we are in control of how we react to them. I will be the first to raise my hand and say that I frequently lose it. It gets to 5 pm and I am oooooh so ready for the kid’s bedtime. I’m tired of the constant toddler mood swings, and I’m just ready for a mental break.
Something that I’m learning, is to see past the toddler meltdowns. Otherwise, if I let his behaviour control my emotions, I will be left exhausted and depressed. You see, I cannot base my joy on the behaviour of my child because that changes practically by the second. My joy has to be found in something solid and consistent. For me, that is my Saviour. Christ is always the same. He never changes, and so my joy can be consistently found in Him.
3. It’s Not Personal
This one is SO important to note, but before we get into it, I need to clarify something. There are some parents out there that aren’t paying much attention to their children’s behaviour. They don’t discipline, and they aren’t providing healthy boundaries. In those cases, the behaviour of their children is somewhat personal. They are doing their children an injustice, and what I’m about to say is not relevant in those cases.
However, for the vast majority of us, I do think this applies.
It’s not personal. Your child’s behaviour is not personal. They’re not doing it to you. It’s not your fault (at least most of the time anyway, ha!).
They are learning and exploring ev-er-y-thing in their world. It is human nature to push boundaries. It is also human nature to thrive within them.
If you’re like most good mums I know, you’re doing your best. You’re being consistent, and you’re trying to guide your child to make good decisions. It’s not an easy task.
So, when you’re about ready to ‘lose it’, remember this. Your child is a child. They are not demonstrating this behaviour because of something that you’ve done wrong. They are more than likely behaving that way because that’s what toddlers do. Not just your child…toddlers in general. It’s not personal.
With all that being said, I get how hard it is to put it into practice. There has been many a day where I’ve wanted nothing more than hide under the covers in my bed and be left alone. But you know what mama? These days won’t be around forever. Once they’re over, your toddler will be a child, and then a teenager, and then an adult. The tantrums will be over, but they will still explore the world in different ways, and they will still need you to be their calm. That fact will never change. Keep on keeping on mama, you’ve got this.
Until next time!