My son is at that stage where he is really starting to feel things – happiness, excitement, rage, fear – but those emotions run away with him because they are all so new and he doesn’t know how to handle them.
You know how it is. Toddler drops toy, sandwiches are cut the wrong way, cup is the wrong colour. Such little things to happen, with such massive consequences. They simply don’t know how to handle it or how to communicate the problem properly. Cue the tears and tantrums, the shouting and the screaming. They know of no other outlet for that raw emotion.
It goes both ways though.
True happiness and excitement often make T violent. We were sitting on the floor of the lounge the other day playing with his stacky cups (which, by the way, are his most favourite toys in the whole wide world at the moment), and singing if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands. He only responds to two verses so far, and they are clap your hands and shake your head, but it’s a song he gets great joy from.
I shouldn’t have combined it with stacky cup play.
If you’re happy and you know it – OW!
He’d slapped me right across the cheek with his hand. Turning to him, I could see the excitement pouring out of him. He was literally quivering with all this pent-up emotion that he couldn’t control.
This time it was a stacky cup to the head because I’d stopped building the tower. He was laughing like a loon, screaming his head off he was so happy.
Now fellow parents, here is my question to you. In this situation, what would you do? I grabbed the cup off him before he managed to crack my head open with it, and simply said no thank you. I then went on with building the tower. I felt that even though he’d hit me, it hadn’t been naughty as such. By that I mean he didn’t do it to cause pain, he did it with positive energy and positive intention.
I know that at his age (he’s only 1.5) he’s simply exploring boundaries, because that is how they learn. I wasn’t about to turn our happy play time into something negative, not only because I thought it unneccessary, but also because I was quite enjoying myself and I didn’t want it to end.
They say that toddlers (and children) grow out of it, but how much do they need a helping hand? After all, they only grow out of it because those boundaries get learned, along with right and wrong.
This is something I will persist with, and a behaviour which I think almost needs to be ignored…whilst other outlets of emotion are encouraged. Possibly I’ll be right, possibly I’ll be wrong.
I guess it’s going to be a learning curve for both of us!
The Tale of Mummyhood