How I Dealt With Tantrums After All Else Failed

Toddler Tantrums


How to deal with toddler tantrums? Don't look at me for answers. After reading through hundreds of articles, half a dozen books, and attending a couple of seminars, I still don't have the answer. What I have is my experience with Mila and how I am trying to learn one bad day at a time.

Last night was the first time I had encountered one of my fears: I couldn't understand Mila. Her small cry turned into an hour of full blown tantrum and non stop crying. Just writing this now and thinking about last night gets me teary-eyed. If I'm at home instead of here at work, I know I'll be crying buckets because of frustration.

Last Sunday, the little girl was sound asleep by 8pm and woke up the next morning at 9. Quiet a milestone. Even the whole morning and afternoon, Mila was an angel. Just playing and eating and more play. I had to leave for a few hours but she didn't mind at all. When I got home, it was already 4pm and she hadn't taken a nap yet. So we went upstairs for quiet time and after 5 mins, she's sleeping soundly on my arms. No cries, no trouble.

After an hour, she woke up crying. Just non-stop wailing. I was surprised because she is generally a quiet baby and the whole day, she was so nice and happy. I tried to feed her, checked her diapers, made sure there's no insect bites or anything that may be hurting her. None. I know her cries and it just sounded like a bad dream sort of cry instead of hurting. So I sang her a lullaby, carried her and danced her. Not working. I tried to massage her tummy, caressed her head, rubbed her back. Still crying. Tried to give her to her Dad, but she held on to me and would not let go. I'm torn between putting her down on the bed to let her cry it out and carrying her just to soothe her. Neither worked. I sat down and looked her in the eyes and talked to her softly, just like on the guide books but she just screamed louder. She started kicking and hitting and rolling on the bed and I want to cry at that point. This is not my sweet Mila.

I know there is something bothering her. I just don't know what. This is my fault because she needs something and I cannot understand. I tried to calm her down but I cannot calm myself down. Her yaya even offered to take Mila and I refused because I am the mother. I should be able to care and pacify her. I'm keeping that pride in me so I just shooed yaya out of the room. I can handle this, I told her.

But I'm afraid really and didn't think I could handle it. I'm afraid I'm so busy all the time and cannot understand Mila's needs anymore. I'm afraid I'm not doing enough to care for Mila. I'm afraid my short patience is being tested. I'm afraid of this big urge to hit her, to shout back, to scream louder. That's the last thing I want to do to Mila. So I prayed. I just hugged her and I prayed. Not for the Lord to stop Mila from crying but for me to have the grace of understanding and patience. For me to have a calm heart so I can share that to Mila.

Prayers work wonders. Mila just suddenly stopped crying and picked up one of her dolls that I had been trying to give her all this time, like it was the first time she saw it. Then she was laughing. And she hugged and kissed me and everything is good in the world again.



17 comments:

  1. I'm so guilty.. :( Honestly, my patience has been tested these past few days and what I did was, I shouted Rhian and let her cry. I felt guilty (super!) after doing that to her, her innocent face really melts my heart so I hugged and kissed her and say "Sorry", she just smiled and laugh na parang walang nangyari.I agree with you that prayers really works. :)

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  2. I am a very impatient person and dealing with a toddler in the tantrum stage is NOT easy. As parents we're supposed to be able to handle these episodes but always remember that there's nothing wrong about getting a bit of help. Prayers help a lot. I even ask my son to pray with me to stop his tantrums and it works like magic. :)

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  3. I think every moms experience this moment. I had my own experience and crying moments because I don't know what to do. Like you, I just let go and let God help me.

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  4. Thanks for the reminder! It is so easy to get frustrate or angry when a kid throws a tantrum. :(

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  5. I know how difficult that situation can be. My elder son was like that, and he didn't want to be put down. So I had to be in a sitting position for the entire night till morning just so he gets to sleep... But yeah, the only way to make them feel loved, and they can feel it and reciprocate. You're doing a good job! :)

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  6. Sis, based on what you wrote, I think the problem here is not managing a tantrum but avoiding one. As you said, Mila is generally a sweet child. I believe she threw a tantrum because she was overtired. To avoid a tantrum, tell the yaya to be strict with naptime. She needs to sleep at a specific time even when you're not there. I really good that helps because in our case, schedule and routine are the answers.

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  7. Skye's starting to show some tantrums signs. Like she'd cry and no one would understand what she wants. She'd stop if I offer her my dede but she'd be twisting and turning and would bite me. Right now, Tatay and I still find it amusing. Tatay find it more amusing kasi hindi naman sya yung nakakagat at nahihilahan ng dede. So I don't know what we'll do if lumala na sya. :( I guess lahat ng babies dadaan dun. I also pray for patience and understanding. I love this post Paulline. So honest.

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  8. I remember having that moment when my daughter is still a toddler but it only happened once. Maybe Mila just had a bad dream?

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  9. Paulline @ milastolemyheartNovember 30, 2014 at 3:39 PM

    I was at the edge of my wits when I wrote this. :)

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  10. Paulline @ milastolemyheartNovember 30, 2014 at 3:40 PM

    I know that guilty feeling all too well. For now, dali pa sila lambingin pero when they get older, hay naku!

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  11. Paulline @ milastolemyheartNovember 30, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    I'll try that. Mila already knows how to pray and says Amen. I think I'll let her join in next time. Pero sana wala ng next episode of extreme tantrums.

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  12. Paulline @ milastolemyheartNovember 30, 2014 at 3:42 PM

    I'm glad to hear I'm not alone pala

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  13. Paulline @ milastolemyheartNovember 30, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    It is. Specially for a short-tempered, sleepless mommy like me.

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  14. Paulline @ milastolemyheartNovember 30, 2014 at 3:43 PM

    Wow, thanks for the confidence booster Meikah!

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  15. Paulline @ milastolemyheartNovember 30, 2014 at 3:46 PM

    Oh noh! The nipple torture! If small pa sila, kakatuwa talaga kasi yung cries nila soft pa. Pero as they get older, they start shouting and wailing, kakainis na! I wish talaga one episode lang to. Ok lang yung small cries pero one hour?! Goodluck to us!

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  16. Paulline @ milastolemyheartNovember 30, 2014 at 3:47 PM

    That's what I'm thinking too. Sana nga bad dream lang and no more of this.

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  17. Paulline @ milastolemyheartNovember 30, 2014 at 9:23 PM

    I'm happy I got hubby and yaya with me too. I just have some stubborn moments and when I feel Mila needs to be "discipline" that I want things done myself. So far, no repeat tanrrum naman. Yey!

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