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Tantrum Silver Lining

A few nights ago our three-year-old was throwing a massive tantrum before bed.  It started with a vehement toothbrushing boycott, transitioned into a refusal to go anywhere near her bedroom (I gave up on the toothbrushing with barely a struggle), and culminated into a flat out, lying-on-the-floor, foot-kicking, red-in-the-face episode of screaming “I’m hungry!  I need fooooood.  I’m SO HUNGRY.  I’M SO SO SO HUNNNNNGRY!”

I didn’t reach for the fridge…I started crying.  Nearly sobbing, actually.  “I don’t have the energy for this right now,” I told her.  “I’m tired and my body doesn’t feel good (I was sick), and I feel sad about some things right now, and I can’t listen to screaming.  The best thing you can do to help me is go to bed.”  And within seconds, the tantrum stopped.  Wide-eyed, she quit screaming, scraped herself off the kitchen floor, reached up, and gave me a massive hug.   “I love you,” she said.  “I’m going to bed.”

In a moment, she morphed from toughest kid on the block to 3-year-old of the year.  And gave me a welcome reminder that we are wired to care about each other…that it’s good to be vulnerable, even with our kids (just not all the time when it comes to the kids)…and that crying sometimes does make things feel better.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Wow. It’s amazing to be reminded that when things matter, people (even 3 year olds!) notice and care. What a bright, perceptive daughter you have! (And what a wonderful mother she has 🙂 xox

    September 29, 2013
  2. Liz #

    Wonderful post, Brynn. I had something similar happen with my 12 year old last weekend. She wasn’t having a tantrum but she was being (quite) uncooperative. I started crying too and said that I just can’t take on one more thing right now, I’m too stressed out. She gave me a big hug and we got the chores done. Ideal parenting? Probably not. Authentic? Very much so. 🙂

    October 1, 2013
    • Thanks for your comment, Liz. And thanks for sharing your story…I’ll take authentic parenting over ideal parenting any day. XO

      October 2, 2013

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Brynn Harrington

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