The Aftermath

Tantrums are not forever.

Tantrums are not forever.

Tantrums are not forever.

This is what I repeat to myself when I’m smack dab in the eye of the storm. I’ve gotten better at resorting to this mantra over the past year, which may or may not have anything to do with the fact that she *does* have fewer outbursts as she nears The Promised Land of Four. It’s easy to keep the faith when said faith isn’t accosted by tantrums every other day. 

But still, they happen. While the tantrums are less frequent and briefer now than they were six months ago, they’re still disarming and miserable. I feel trapped in the moment when she’s yelling and crying over something as insignificant as a piece of candy she isn’t allowed to eat. I tell myself I’m a failure as a parent for raising an apparently spoiled child who can’t cope with ripples in her routine without screaming bloody murder. I feel powerless to make the moment pass. My child’s anger is directly related to my inability to mother her the right way, whatever that is.

Just when my self-critique has reached a crescendo of frustration and self-loathing, that’s when the mantra kicks in. 

Tantrums are not forever.

And they’re not. 

They stop. They stop when I actually listen to C and respect her wish to be left alone when she’s angry. They quit seeming so long when I don’t make them about me. They phase themselves out, bit by bit, as she grows. 

Tantrums are awful, but the aftermath – a life where she learns to cope with anger and I learn to give up the illusion of control over things I cannot change – is always worth it. 

little girl playing with thread cards

Taken ~15 minutes after an epic meltdown. “I’m just gonna do some sewing.”

37 comments

  1. Good mantra. That’s the main thing I have learned as a parent – most things pass (both good and bad)…

    1. Especially swallowed pennies 💩

  2. Sounds like you are dealing with them perfectly – they do pass x

  3. Tantrums are not forever are they? I can completely relate to this, as raising four children, they all have had tantrums and still do occasionally. I always tell my little one, “Its hard being four,” and I am sure it really is. Although think about it, how many adults do you see pulling a tantrum when things don’t go their way. More often than not, we just call it hot-headed or losing your temper. Bullshit! Your pulling a tantrum! LOL She is an absolute cutie – you’re doing a great job mama!! :) Great post!

    1. Thank you! I definitely would like to indulge in a tantrum from time to time.

    2. Oh, I LOVE that! – “It’s hard being [insert age here]” – gotta remember that the next time my 6yo cops an attitude (which she’s doing at least once a day these past few weeks) – thanks for your take on it, MamaLisa4, and thanks also for the great reflection on letting the storm pass by, Emily!

  4. Ha! I laughed at the “I’m just gonna do some sewing.” 3 is a hard age, I think even more so than 2. But you are right – age 4 is one of my favorites. My girls, age 6 and 9, will still have the occasional meltdown. I think by that age, you learn to send them to their room and tune out.

    1. I am SO ready for four. Three has almost killed me

  5. I don’t have kids, but if/when I do I feel like these are the exact types of thoughts and feelings I will have navigating through it all. Great post!

  6. just for one day I wish that I could have a meltdown over things that don’t go my way and then just let it go as our children seem to be able to do. It would be so amazing to not hold a grudge about something. Kids are amazingly resilient.

    1. So true. Her anxieties definitely don’t keep her up at night like mine do.

  7. Great Mantra! I have to try that with my middle child…He’s only 2, he’s louder than the 4 year old! A glass of wine will help! LOL It will get better! Best of luck!

    1. For me, it’s Baileys and coffee 😍

      1. Ooh yes I have had that too. It delicious. Now I am more into the wine. Sometimes after all the noise and commotion you just need a glass. Have a great day!

  8. Your positive attitude is wonderful….and as your daughter grows older you can actually replace many words in “____________are not forever” (like teenage years are not forever)!!! As a mother of four, I can honestly say temper tantrums are God’s way of keeping us moms humble!!

  9. Go mama, be strong! Oo

  10. Sometimes as a mother you have to be tough and look away. When my daughter was that age and in the season of her tantrum, i used to feel frustrated. It felt like my heart been pulled in two directions…feeling her pain and wanting her to know that she can’t have everything she wished for. So one day when she started one of her tantrums i just walked past and left her to whine and get over it…soon she came looking for me and i gave her a warm embrace. She soon learned that mummy loves her but sometimes she has to say NO!

    1. I like that approach. I really have to work to fight the urge to cave and give her whatever she wants. It’s been an uphill challenge, but I think I’m getting there 😊

  11. It gets better.
    Then, she turns 12 and all bets are off. <3

    1. Oh god. I dread the teen years like nothing else.

  12. The intensity of toddler rage is incredible isn’t it? There’s a poem in one of my daughter’s books called I Am Angry by Michael Rosen which describes my kids’ meltdowns exactly.

    1. I will have to check that out! And yes, the intensity is tremendously overwhelming. It’s almost like they become possessed at times.

  13. Great mantra! I’ll keep repeating this in my head when my daughter has a tantrum – my daughter is only 16 months old so her tantrums have only just begun.

    1. Oh, I remember that time. They’d right around the same time they they started for us too. May the force be with you!

      1. haha thanks I’ll need it! her personality matches her fiery red hair – she can be a ticking time bomb on days!

  14. Awesome outlook, and yes it will pass. We’re all different emotional colors in the crayon box of life! With my fabulous five, it was the ones with the more outgoing (explosive) personalities that were more difficult to adapt to as an introverted parent, but love and patience overcame a multitude of challenges. My Grandma told me that kids experience the same complex emotions as adults- without the maturity and coping skills that come from years of lessons learned! 25 years later and the more “charismatic” of my children are adults and a teacher, psychologist and forensic anthropologist! Coincidentally, all are musicians, which was one option (unlimited playing time in their rooms) I gave as an outlet.
    Stay the course, and have a blessed day, Crystal

    1. I love that crayon analogy! And you really nailed why this age has been hard for us all as a family. My husband and I are fairly relaxed, quiet, people-pleasers, and our daughter is a tad more tightly-wound.

  15. Recently a friend of mine posted something on FB that I wish I had heard when my children were young: it advised parents to look at their children’s temper tantrums as an indication of a challenge the child was having in coping with a situation, and the parents job was to help them cope not shut down the tantrum. Wise advice, I thought. 😊

    Peace to you and yours, Em,
    C

  16. I wish I could have Tantrums! What a great way to let off some steam.. I think toddlers are really geniuses!

  17. So true! It’s so great that you’re letting her tantrum it out! Kudos for finding coping skills of your own! ❤️

  18. My twin boys are approaching 2-years-old and the tantrums have begun! I need to be more patient and calm with the tantrums instead of just focusing on getting them to END! Thanks for the reminder.

  19. Love reading your posts! Very relatable view on parenting without the cheese. i just started my own blog (like…today!) and would love for you to check it out….in between tantrums….

  20. Love reading your blog! Very relatable view on parenting without the cheese. I just started my own blog (like…today!) and would love for you to check it out when you get a sec. In between tantrums that is…

  21. Wow. She is almost 4? That’s awesome

  22. […] posts I wrote about C last year when she was three, and the resounding theme to those posts is that tantrums are hard but par for the course when your kid is at a particular age. She is well into age four now and […]

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