Stopping Tantrums

Life in the Farm Lane

8/21/2014 2:54 PM

Any parent can relate to the “terrible twos” – a time when your 2-year-old child is developing his own personality and typically hates being told no, resulting in a tantrum.

I thought when my son started his terrible twos at 16 months, we’d be done by now. But at 2-1/2, he’s going stronger than ever. Being told no is the typical trigger, especially if it involves not being allowed to eat junk food or candy, but any old no will do. He even gets pretty upset when you ask him to be patient and wait his turn – it’s his way or the highway 24/7.

So how do you cope with a tantrum-throwing toddler?

I take him to the barn or bribe him with ice cream. Great parenting, right? But hey, I do what works. My son’s two favorite things are his cow, Chloe, and ice cream, making him the model farm boy of course.

I was home no more than five minutes last night when only the Lord knows what set off his tantrum. Out to the barn we go. The minute he saw Chloe, he was the happiest little man.

A little later in the evening, he started his new trick - refusing to sit in his high chair to eat a meal and when you force him to, he proceeds to throw his food all over the kitchen. You throw your food, you get no food = bigger tantrum.

So last night when we were going through the normal mealtime argument, I hit my limit. It had been a long day and I just didn’t have the energy to fight. So I did what any desperate parent would do – I bribed my child. I told him that if he sat down and ate some dinner, we would go out for ice cream. Tada! He ate, we all got ice cream and the kitchen wasn’t totally covered in food.

And as I lay in bed last night, it dawned on me that as frustrating as my son can be sometimes (the rest of the time he’s a perfect, well-mannered angel), he’s a true farm boy. What farmer wouldn’t be in a better mood after seeing their favorite cow or getting ice cream? It usually works for my dad and husband too.

~Jessica Rose Spangler, market editor

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