Thursday, 15 September 2011
Taming the Matildabeast
Methods are many and various, some work, some don't. Here's a couple that have been working of late. Hooray for that.
1. Use your imagination, or lie.
Following five minutes of whining. The kind of whining that's like keening, only less screechy. And all because we didn't walk on the right side of the street. She was lagging several feet behind.
Me: Matilda, please stop whining.
Me: What's the matter?
No response. More whining.
Me: I can only assume you're very tired and we need to go home rather than go to the park.
... more whining.
Me: Oh my goodness, look, there's an elephant dancing. In a pink dress.
Immediate stop to whining.
Me: Quickly, come here and look. Quick.
The patter of tiny feet.
Matilda: Where, where?
Me: Oh no, you missed her. She headed off into the mountains.
Matilda (holding her hand over her eyes and surveying the horizon): I can see her. She has a pretty pink dress. Let's go to park, quick, she'll be there perhaps.
No more whining.
Is this approach good? Bad? Conducive to the healthy growth of a keen young mind? Don't know. But it works.
2. Mummy says...
At the moment Matilda rarely does anything without an enormous fuss. The simplest request is often greeted with tears of rage and flat refusal. The other day, I don't know why, desperation probably, I started to tell her to do silly things: Matilda touch your nose, Matilda flap your arms, Matilda stick your tongue out. And she did. She thought it was funny. So did I. I've tried it a couple of times and it always stops the tantrum dead in its tracks. And then we can continue with the real orders. Matilda clean you teeth. Matilda put your t-shirt on.
Agnès told me tantrums are simply a question of a build-up of nervous energy which needs to be released. This is why children can explode over what can seem like such tiny meaningless things. This makes sense to me. Whenever Matilda is having a tantrum I get the feeling that she is just screaming to scream, to let it all out. I understand this. If I can direct that energy elsewhere, into imagination or laughter, then so much the better. Sometimes I can't and then everyone just grumps around until the storm has passed.
Anyone got any tips on relatively painfree tantrum management? Any advice most gratefully received.