My poor boy #2. I feel like I am always telling stories about him, but he has been the one child that has kept me on my toes and has made me a better parent. Our first born threw 1 tantrum his entire toddler life. ONE. In the post office, out of nowhere and I was so embarrassed because he had never done anything like that, and he never repeated it.
However, baby boy #2, well, let’s just say Tantrum is his middle name. He’s 7 and sometimes they still happen. He would have tantrums as an 18-month-old and I would just video them so I could show my husband because I was at a loss of words at to what to do with this child!
When he was 3-years-old he attended a Mother’s Day Out program twice a week for just half the day. I knew it would be hard for him because I was going back to work and he was just going to have to adjust.
Luckily we had an amazing nanny who would take him and baby #3 to MDO on those days and she would let me know how they did at “school” and with her. A couple months in to the new routine we started getting reports that he was having some difficulties at school; he didn’t do well with transitions and just didn’t like to comply with the rules, i.e. picking up toys, coming in from outside, taking naps, etc. Teachers would talk to our nanny about the issues and she would relay them to us.
Now, our nanny had no problems with #2, but she was strict and held him to the carpet with his nonsense, so he knew better. Finally, around Christmas my husband and I met with his teachers and the director of the school to discuss his behavior. He was not acting out with other children, he just wasn’t minding the rules. We came up with a plan to keep him on track like a sticker chart because he LOVED (still does) positive reinforcement.
For about a month things were great; teachers were using the sticker chart and he worked hard for that sticker every day. However, as soon as the structure went away (not sure why they stopped, but the sticker chart was just no more) he began to act out again.
They called one day and asked me to come get him. He was having a meltdown, the worst temper tantrum, and they couldn’t handle it. When I walked into the school I could hear him screaming. I began to walk faster and when I got to the director’s office I could see the director just standing there as my 3-year-old pulled all her magnets off her filing cabinet and throwing them around the room. Her office was a mess. He was a mess. She was a mess. I couldn’t believe my eyes: my son had DESTROYED this woman’s office! Pillows were everywhere, books were everywhere, things were just chaotic.
I didn’t say much, I literally scooped him up and took him to the car because I needed to get him home. He screamed the entire way to the car, on the way home and once we got home! I learned that when he would get this irate I would have to hug him tight for him to calm down, so that is what I did. We laid in his bed while he began to calm down, but still crying, and I cried right along with him. I was at loss with this kid!
We later got a phone call from the director that her MDO program was not the right place for him and that he could not come back. Really? My 3-year-old just got kicked out of preschool?! Is this what I have to look forward to the rest of his educational career? As a high school English teacher, this concerned me. A lot.
Luckily, we found another school that was really structured and his tantrums started to lessen. It has helped immensely too because he has matured some and we keep a structured household. He knows what is expected of him and that he can’t behave a certain way.
At the time this all happened I was mortified. I could not believe that he threw a big enough fit that he was asked not to come back. But, it taught me a lot about myself as his mother; I knew there were somethings myself and hubs had to figure out with him and that I (mainly) had to step up my parenting game and stick to my guns.
Now, he’s 7 and doing wonderfully. He keeps us on our toes, but I would not change that tantrum because it truly opened my eyes to a lot of things I was doing wrong and I knew I had to make things right if I wanted him to be successful and be tantrum free…at least close to tantrum free…