Every once in a while I act as if I believe that there could actually exist a how-to manual on raising children. There can't. There isn't. I'm sorry to burst your bubble if you have spent a fortune on a super-parenting library. You may as well sell it all now. Or save it for firewood when the zombie apocalypse happens.
In these moments of confused weakness, I usually visit some know-it-all site, like Huffpost Parents. Or Wikipedia. Just kidding. Wikipedia doesn't really have a page for raising children. But they should- God, that would be awesome. Huffpost Parents has droves of information, though. I nearly wet myself with excitement today when I saw this headline;
How To Diffuse a Tantrum in 10 Seconds Flat
Holy shit- really? Just in time. I'm about to take my toddler on a plane. He's not prone to tantrums, but I figure anyone can use a 10 second tantrum diffuser in their parenting arsenal, right? Only problem is, this is the worst advice, ever. Not kidding. I'm confused. I hope this woman is just trying to be funny. Please, God, let that be the case.
The following is a step by step guide to diffusing a tantrum, as per a Huffpost Parents Blogger. Most of these tactics seem odd. I'm almost positive that none of them will stop a tantrum in 10 seconds. The point is, this post actually made me feel better about my parenting skills. I mean, Huffpost is a reputable site. So it is comforting to know that not even these parenting pros know what the hell is going on. Here is the list, and some excerpts of the advice. Followed, of course, by a little commentary.
1. Copy the Tantrum. "Lie on the floor next to your thrashing child and mimic their behavior."
Okay, so I am going from the embarrassment of an uncontrollable toddler, to all out pretending like I have also lost my fucking mind. Sorry- I still have some self respect. No. Just, no. Worst advice ever.
2. Ignore it. "Tell your child that you can't hear him when he is being whiny. It may even help if you speak to him in a Donald Duck voice."
So now, I am expected to relinquish 39 years of behavioral training, and act like a toddler myself? I don't think so.
3. Distract. "Begin singing 'Baby Got Back,' as loud as possible while shaking your butt. She will stop what she's doing and start laughing. Tantrum over."
I really don't think my child would laugh at this. I just don't. He will look at me, confused, and if it is possible for a one and a half year old to be horrified by his mother- that will happen. I'd rather wait until he is a teenager to horrify him- like every other mother around- thank you very much.
4. Stay calm. "... if you can just count to 10 before you react, you may be surprised how much those few seconds can help your child realize that you aren't going to respond to irrational behavior. Plus if you stand completely still and silent or lie on the couch with your eyes closed, she will be more concerned with your well being. Tantrum averted."
Are you actually suggesting that I play dead, here? I do have a sick sense of humor, but that is just fucked up.
5. Walk away. "If your child starts to throw a tantrum in a public place, tell them you are leaving... he needs to know that you mean business. You have to follow through so that he knows this behavior won't go unpunished..."
You've slightly redeemed yourself with this one. Agreed.
6. Talk it to death. "That's right. Talk about every single emotion you are having, and talk about it again. Your kid will get so bored hearing about his own tantrum, and your empathy, that he...will walk away from you."
You may be confusing your child with your spouse here. Maybe a second day of therapy a week is in order.
7. Shock and Awe. "...junior decides to throw himself on the floor and scream bloody murder. Promptly take your faucet hose sprayer and spray junior in the face."
What in the what?
What in the what?
Um, yeah. I got nothing for this one. But do you understand where I am coming from here? Nobody knows what the hell they are doing. We all just learn as we go, and hopefully don't do too much irreversible damage. Be your own, personal, parenting expert. You definitely know as much as this woman.
And if it makes you feel any better, I'm pretty sure you're better at it than I am, too.