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the mommyhood memos: March 2011

Thursday, March 31, 2011

i want one of these

So... lately I've been obsessing over this photo that we have on our fridge:

I can sometimes be found with a milk jug in one hand, the open fridge door in the other, gawking at this glorious photo while time stands still.

I look at that little bundle of heaven I had in my arms and can't believe that my spunky, hilarious, strong, independent, quick, sweet, talkative, constantly-on-the-go toddler easily fit within the length of my forearm not that long ago.

I just want another one of those.

If I wasn't already pregnant I'd be trying to be.

Cuz I just want another one of those. Oh wait, I already said that.

I want to hold an itty-bitty, teeny-tiny child and know that s/he's mine to love, and laugh with, and learn from... as long as I have breath.

Lucky for me that in 27 weeks I get to do it all over again.

Those beautiful expressions on our faces - Enthralled Mama and Proud Papa? They will make another grand entrance.

Yup, 27ish more weeks.

I can't wait.

Take your time sweet baby. Although I can't wait... this mama can wait. Grow well. Grow strong. Grow healthy. This is the only time we'll ever have together when I don't have to share you with the world.

excited is an understatement,

adriel booker | the mommyhood memos | 2011
  do not reproduce without written permission

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

i wanna be a rockstar when i grow up

"When you were a little girl, what did you want to be when you grew up?"
This is one of my favorite questions to ask people when I first meet them. As fun and whimsical as it is as an icebreaker, it can also tell you so much about a person. Because as children, we were free to dream without someone telling us we’re being silly or illogical or unrealistic. As children we weren’t worried about the schooling involved, the required qualifications, the upfront expenses, or what the paycheck would be later on.
Heck, we weren’t even worried about being talented enough. Because, you know, it was before all those dreaded insecurities sneakily made their way into our beings.
We lived by the slogans of the US Army and Nike: Be All That You Can Be and Just Do It.
And then—usually somewhere around high school, or perhaps even middle school—someone “talks some sense” into us. And all of a sudden we no longer want to be a ferris wheel operator or a ballet dancer… we want to be a real estate broker. (Not that there’s anything wrong with being a broker… but it sure doesn’t sound as fun or as romantic as being a rodeo cowgirl, now does it?)
Just as most kids do, I had my fair share of fleeting career aspirations, which largely stemmed from watching too many movies and TV shows. I wanted to be: a nanny with superpowers (Mary Poppins), a fighter pilot (Top Gun), an astronaut (Space Camp), a BMXer (RAD), an attorney (Perry Mason), a doctor (The Cosby Show), a detective (Murder She Wrote), or a princess (you-name-it-Disney-movie).
But I also had a few longer-lasting career ambitions as a child:
The Mommy.
The appeal: Moms fix boo-boos, kiss babies, decorate the house, and choose the menu.   All things I couldn’t wait to be in charge of. (Apparently I didn’t notice the chores, the errands, the actual cooking of the menu, and the sleepless nights.)
The Rock Star.
The appeal: Rock stars are loud, bold, dramatic, wear cool clothes, star in awesome music videos, and can make large groupings of people sing along with them whenever they want to. (I’m still waiting for my lucky break into the music biz.)
The Broadway Star.
The appeal: Broadway stars sing, dance, take on other personas, wear pretty costumes, and get the boy. Oh, and they have flowers thrown at them every time they perform well. (Too bad my six-year-old self dropped out of ballet because they wouldn’t let me dance. But who could blame me? They just kept making me stand there {gasp} and called it fifth position or something. Borrr-ing.)
The Pediatrician.
The appeal: Pediatricians help mommies with their babies, give advice about caring for children, and help make kids and families feel better. (The bajillion years of necessary schooling eventually turned me off from this one.)
The President.
The appeal: The President works for justice, establishes laws, serves people for their common good, creates a better life through education and health care, forges new territory, and makes friends with other nations. (As a child I never thought about being in charge of things like the economy or war… Being President doesn’t look nearly as glamorous to me as it used to.)
So that’s my short list – the five careers I “seriously” considered between the ages of three and… thirteen.
Fast forward to fifteen years since leaving high school, and I’ve now had the opportunity to be a number of things: a preschool worker, a janitor, a bartender, a waitress, a popcorn server at the movies, a customer service rep at a bank, a tele-surveyor, a secretary, a public relations exec for a local government branch, a Bible teacher, a self employed minister, and a full-time volunteer for a non-profit.
Not one of those fit into my top five childhood career ambitions… until January.
In January I became a mom.
Maybe I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up…
Or maybe I do.
As a mom I fix boo-boos, kiss babies, decorate the house, and choose the menu. I’m sometimes loud, usually bold, often dramatic, star in all sorts of (G-rated) family home videos, and try to wear cool clothes. I definitely like to make others sing along, and I’m constantly making up songs and dancing for—and with—my baby. I take on other personas (during story time). I wear pretty costumes and I got the boy (who often throws flowers at me *blush*). I try to help other mommies with their babies. I sometimes share tips about caring for the children. And I do my best to help make kids and families feel better. I work for justice, establish laws, serve people, create a better life through education and health care, and forge new territory… in our home and in the little world we live in.
Yes. I am… a mom.
And us moms? I’m pretty sure we do it all.
We work dang hard, both at home and beyond… sometimes with lots of pay and recognition, and often with very little.
We put in long-hours. We work through our lunch breaks. We rarely get a sick day or a “mental health” day. We continue working right through our vacations. And we never, ever sign off at 5:00pm.
But we do it knowing that the future is curled up on our laps and drooling all over our clothes. We do it knowing it’s a future worth working hard for.
It’s good to be a mom.
And you?
Dear friends, as a child, what did you want to be “when you grew up”?   How can you see your childhood fantasies being worked out in your life now?  Do you recognize your dreams taking another form?  What is one thing that you need to do that you always dreamed of doing?

dreaming of my packed out stadium,

{This post was originally published as a guest post on Nirvana Mamma on September 11, 2011}

adriel booker | the mommyhood memos | 2011
do not reproduce without written permission

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Monday, March 28, 2011

heaven and a donut: a pregnant woman’s living wish

I never used my golden ticket.

Nine long months and not once did I demand pad thai or cinnamon raisin bagels or Honey Nut Cheerios.

I suppose I’m lucky to say that my only lingering regret from my first pregnancy was never cashing in on my free pass to satisfy my every hormonal urge and craving. (Not counting my perfectly reasonable obsession with crushed ice by the bucket during my final two months. Side note: unless you are Indiana Jones or Houdini you just. won't. find. snow. in tropical Australia in the dead of summer... or the dead of winter for that matter. Crushed ice will just have to do.)

But no, my golden ticket sat collecting dust on the shelf while I happily munched on ice and my belly grew to busting point.

What a waste of power.

But this time, things are different.

I’m older. I’m wiser. I’m… hungrier.

I was eleven weeks along when I went out last weekend for a girls’ night out with friends. I had contentedly sipped my Sprite for two hours when my first craving hit me like a hurricane.

Donuts. Front and center, they stole the stage of my mind and took my every thought hostage.

All I wanted was one. Or maybe two

Three at the most.

I wasn't asking for anything fancy, just cinnamon donuts… a whim easily satisfied by a quick detour to the grocery store on our way home.

I loaded up my accommodating girlfriends and headed to the only supermarket in town still open. It was 9:57pm when we pulled into the parking lot (yes, shops do close that early here, even on a Saturday night). I was determined to be in an out in record time with my precious cargo.

After a frantic and fruitless search of the bakery section (twice), I left defeated and dejected.

There were no donuts. Not even a trace.

My head hung low, my shoulders slumped, the sparkle stolen from my eyes…

They locked the doors behind me at 10:02pm as I left empty-handed. It was in that moment that I wished my belly was just a little bit bigger. Then maybe somebody would feel sorry for me.

I just wanted a little sympathy.

And a donut.

My girlfriends tried to console me as best they could and I resigned to the fact that perhaps this pregnancy wouldn’t be so different than the first. After all…

I am woman. I am strong. I can live without donuts.

Yes, yes, yes!

I am woman.   I am strong.    I.  can.  live.  without.  donuts.

The next morning I woke to a gloomy, rainy day. It was Sunday—our day—and we decided to head to the mall, if just to have a place that Levi could run his little size four sneakers free without getting hammered by the torrential downpour that drenched our day-at-the-beach plans.

As soon as we stepped into the mall my husband turned to me and said these magic words: “How about we go and get a coffee and donuts?”

Right there on the spot I fell in love with that man all over again.

He knew not of my fruitless endeavors of the night before. He knew not that the baby and his* mama needed donuts.

And honestly, we aren’t even “donut people”. Ryan’s suggestion was left field… but sounded to me like a song from heaven. Surely Someone Divine whispered that thought into his mind. Surely.

I got my donut without so much as a whine or a fuss… or even a golden ticket.

In fact, I got two. Two fresh, warm, dunk-able cinnamon donuts.

Donuts have never tasted sweeter.

I have a sneaking suspicion my second pregnancy is going to be fabulous.


Dear friends, did you have cravings during your pregnancies? During my first it was ice, ice, and more ice. (Only because I couldn’t figure out how to get snow shipped in from my parents in Oregon.) During my second I’ve only had the one-off donut craving so far…. But we’ll see where it takes me. And you? How much did you use your golden ticket??

happy about my sweetie bringing me sweets,

*No, we don't know the gender of the baby yet. I just despise using the pronoun "it" for my child. Sometimes the English language is highly frustrating...

Also friends, this post is part of my Reclaiming Sundays project. For the record, our "gloomy, rainy day" turned out to be a perfect family day filled with muffled mall music, fake rides on a stationary Thomas the Train, and of course wonderful donuts. How were you deliberate in taking some time to enjoy those close to you this weekend?

adriel booker | the mommyhood memos | 2011
do not reproduce without written permission

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

after the storm: 9 do’s and don’ts of post-tantrum follow-up

The storm—I mean tantrum—has ceased. The calm has returned. Now... what to do?

Here are some key do's and don'ts in following-up a toddler meltdown:

1.     DO give affirmation for a change of behavior and reinforce your expectations. Example: “Thank you for settling down Levi. I can hear you much better now that you are calm.”

2.     DO give your child validation. Help him identify/name his emotions, but make it clear that it’s not an excuse for poor behavior: “I know you were frustrated because the puzzle is hard, but it’s not okay to throw the pieces. How about mommy helps you next time?” Or “I know you felt angry, but hitting is not okay. It hurts mommy when you hit me.” (Sometimes this is also possible to do during a mild or medium tantrum if they haven’t reached full meltdown yet.)

3.     DON’T hesitate to ask for forgiveness. If you lost your cool and reacted inappropriately, tell your child what you did wrong and ask her for forgiveness. Even if she doesn’t fully understand what you are doing, she will eventually. (This process is just as important for you as it is for your child.) Example: “Mommy should not have yelled at you. That was unkind. I’m sorry. Will you please forgive me?” Then make yourself accountable and share what happened with another adult – tell your husband/partner or mom or friend what you did and ask for their help as you commit to responding better next time. (If reacting inappropriately is a recurring problem, then you should seek the advice of a professional.)

4.     DON’T take it personally. Your young child’s misbehaving should not be taken personally. He doesn't love you any less and, although it sometimes feels like it, he doesn't actually mean to make you feel disrespected when he throws fits.

5.     DON’T hold it against your child. Remember that she is constantly learning new skills and new ways to cope with her changing body, emotions, and surroundings. She is not “bad” or “unruly” or “difficult", she just need lots of practice.

6.     DON’T feel like you’ve failed when it happens again. Even if you do everything “right” in responding to your child’s tantrum, it doesn’t mean it will be his last one. Don’t be discouraged when you have to face the same scenario a second time. And a third. And a twelfth.

7.     DON’T compare your child to other children. Sure, the child down the street always seems to behave perfectly, but don’t underestimate her potential when behind closed doors! Kids are kids and they all need to learn how to manage their emotions and their growing sense of independence. (Keep in mind also that different temperaments can also contribute to more or less tantrums. Again, not a bad thing but something to keep in mind when you need more patience with your own child!)

8.     DON’T get sucked into feelings of false guilt. It’s tempting to think things like, “If I were a better mom my child would be better behaved.” But the reality is that even the best of parents have children that sometimes misbehave. Learning good behavior is a process, it is not inborn within our sweet little cherubs!

9.     DO take heart that your consistency will eventually pay off. When you are in the heat of the moment (and perhaps have had a long or tiring day yourself) it can be easy to think that you’ll never be able to cope with another tantrum. (I've been there!) But you will. And not only will you be able to cope, you will get to the place where your child eventually learns to both manage his emotions and hold himself together behaviorally.

This post is part of a four part series:
3.  In the midst of the storm: 7 methods of coping with tantrums
4.  The aftermath of the storm: 9 do’s and don’ts of post-tantrum follow-up 

Dear friends, I hope this series on tackling toddler tantrums been helpful. Have you learned anything new or is there anything you'd like to add to the overall subject? Or how about specifically in regards to the follow-up process?

growing into motherhood one day at a time,

adriel booker | the mommyhood memos | 2011 
do not reproduce without written permission

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Friday, March 25, 2011

in the midst of the storm: 7 methods of coping with tantrums

We try to avoid. We try to avert. We try to redirect. But sometimes… the storm just hits anyway. Toddler tantrums can be a doozy. Here are seven ways of surviving a meltdown:

1.     Distract. The art of distraction is the secret weapon that all parents quickly learn is worth honing and perfecting! If your child is right on the verge of a tantrum but hasn’t quite crossed over yet (or maybe even in the beginning stages of one) a swift swoop to pick her up and give her a change of scenery is invaluable. Head to the window, turn on some music, pretend to be looking for something under the couch, or open the fridge and ask for help finding the apples. Use your imagination and send her tantrum back where it came from.

2.     Ignore. Many tantrums escalate when you “entertain” them and diffuse when you ignore them. If your child is getting physical (throwing his head back, arching his back, hitting, kicking, or pushing away from you) then put him down on the floor in a safe place and either walk away or simply turn your back until he settles down. Levi went through several weeks of this and I would leave the room saying, “I’ll be in the kitchen (or living room, etc.). Come join me when you settle down.” No exaggeration, he would come chattering away down the hall as happy as a clam one or two minutes later with no recollection of what his fit was about. Since that period, he’s rarely had the same type/severity of tantrums again. (I realize there is no guarantee that they won't recur with that same type of fury, but I do believe it shows he's learning!)

3.     Restrain. I’m told that if you find that putting your child on the floor to carry on while you walk away doesn’t work, then you can try restraining her. Gently but firmly place your arms around her or your hands on her shoulders. Quietly and calmly speak reassuring words into her ears until she settles down. (I’ve not used this method myself, but again, you have to find what works best for your child.)

4.     Refrain. You are the adult… so be mature and refrain from “tantruming” back. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to whine back at Levi or to match his fit with one of my own… but we need to remember who the adult is and act like it! Stay calm, keep your volume level, maintain a kind, respectful and firm tone, and always remain in control of your emotions. Never react with violence or anger and remember that you’re modeling to your child the way you’d like him to eventually respond to difficulty or conflict.

5.     Reason. If a child is already in full tantrum mode, remember that she has lost the ability to listen to reason. This is normal. Don’t become frustrated that she won’t listen to an instruction that she would normally respond well to. Leave your reasoning to before and after tantrums, not during. (This can help minimize your own frustration as well!)

6.     Remove. If a child reaches a full meltdown in public, resist the urge to coax them to behave (by giving a toy/treat/etc), and instead remove him to a more private/appropriate place (such as your car or a mothers room) and deal with the tantrum immediately. Your groceries can wait. This is the most loving thing you can do for your child as well as the most considerate thing you can do for other customers. Although it is not a “quick fix” (like giving in to his demand or shoving a cookie into his mouth), no doubt it will serve you much better in the long run.

7.     Breathe. It’s so important to know your own limits so that you don’t end up doing something you’ll regret later. When you get really frustrated, take a deep breath, make sure your child is in a safe, age-appropriate place (such as her crib/playpen or her room if it's completely child-proofed), and then go sit on your front steps for a few minutes, take a walk around the yard or to your mailbox, have a brief shower, get a drink of water, or call someone for a quick word of reassurance or encouragement. Breathe deeply, concentrate on getting your heart rate down, and then go back and attend to your child as needed. (Although it's normal to experience this from time-to-time, if this is a reoccurring problem then you should definitely consider seeking professional help.)

This post is part of a four part series:
3.  In the midst of the storm: 7 methods of coping with tantrums
4.  The aftermath of the storm: 9 do’s and don’ts of post-tantrum follow-up 

Dear friends, I hope these tips have been helpful. I’m certainly still in the thick of tantrum territory and, no doubt, still have much to learn. Do you have anything to add to the coping methods above?? I’d love to hear your experience and suggestions!

perfecting my own art of distraction,

adriel booker | the mommyhood memos | 2011 
do not reproduce without written permission

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

preparing for the storm: 7 ways to batten down the hatches before a tantrum hits

Tantrums and toddlerhood go together like sunscreen and sand... creating one frustrating, sticky mess. And although they are a normal part of your child’s development as he learns independence, it doesn’t mean they are easy to deal with. Tantrums can cause even a grown woman to overheat, blow steam from her nostrils, or be reduced to tears.

Navigating through the storm of toddler tantrums is certainly not one of the glamorous aspects of motherhood, but it is a necessary one.

As challenging as it is, I’m learning that tantrums don’t have to rule the roost. Here are some ways to avert toddler tantrums before they form into full scale disasters:

1.     Know and respect your child’s threshold, personality, and temperament. Some children are able to cope with more stimulation and activity than others. For example, if you have a very shy child and have already been to a playgroup in the morning, it’s probably best not to also attempt swimming lessons in the afternoon. If your toddler is easily over-stimulated, limit your errands to a few hours and then wind down with a quieter activity like a walk around the neighborhood. Keeping your child's personality and temperament in mind is not only a way to give them the respect they deserve, but it also aides in avoiding unnecessary melt-downs.

2.     Give warning of what’s ahead. Most adults don’t appreciate being interrupted, so why does it surprise us when our kids react poorly to our demands, especially when they are immersed in something they are enjoying? When possible, give a simple warning of what’s ahead. Example: “It’s almost nap time. Two more minutes and then we will pick up the toys and go read a story.” (Obviously this becomes more and more effective the older a toddler is.)

3.     Be preemptive. If you know that your toddler will want to grab at things in the grocery store, give her a snack or a special toy before her behavior goes awry, not in the midst of your battle. Also, when you can, time your outings to not interfere with meal times and naptimes. (Even adults have much less threshold for frustrations when we are tired or hungry!)

4.     Give your child choices, but not so many that it overwhelms them. Giving your child a choice helps foster his sense of independence, while allowing you to still maintain boundaries around his options. Example: “We have to get some groceries and go to the post office. Would you like to go to the grocery store first or the post office?”

5.     Use independence to your advantage. Example: “Your diaper needs to be changed now. Let’s go to your room. Would you like to walk there yourself like a big girl or shall I pick you up and carry you?”

6.     Make sure your child knows the ground rules. This one goes for older toddlers a little bit more than younger ones, but even very young toddlers understand much more than we often think they do. As they’re able to understand, communicate your expectations with them as you go out or go someplace new. Example: “We’re going to the toy store to get special present for Jack’s birthday, but we aren’t getting any new toys for you today. Would you like to help pick out Jack's present?” Or “We’re going to the library today. Do you remember what voice we use in the library? We use our best quiet voice! When you use your best quiet voice mommy will let you pick out some new stories to read.”

7.     Affirm good behavior on a regular basis. Instead of saying “good boy” or “good girl” when your child is well-behaved or obedient (which inadvertently makes them believe that being “good” is only a behavioral issue and is based on your approval), say things like: "good sharing" or “good listening” or “you made a good choice” or “thank you for being obedient/following instructions/etc”. (Side note: although I understand what people are intending, I hate being asked the question, “Is he a good baby/boy?” as I believe all children are “good”. It’s my belief that we need to separate the behavior from the intrinsic value of the individual and change our language accordingly!)

This post is part of a four part series:
3.  In the midst of the storm: 7 methods of coping with tantrums 
4.  The aftermath of the storm: 9 do’s and don’ts of post-tantrum follow-up 

Dear friends, have any of these aversion techniques worked for you? Do you have any that I’ve not yet tried or considered? Please share your experiences! Next we will talk about coping with tantrums when they come and then how to follow them up when they pass...

storm dodging as best i can,

adriel booker | the mommyhood memos | 2011
 do not reproduce without written permission

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

the nature of the storm: 12 things every parent should know about dealing with tantrums

Tackling Toddler Tantrums

I started out with the intention of writing one post about dealing with toddler tantrums. Then it turned into a two-part post because I realized my “intro” story about Levi's first mall tantrum was long enough to be a post of it’s own and that separating the “tips” into another post would work much better. 

Then I started editing and shaping up my “tips” notes and realized that I had way more to say on the subject than I originally thought. So, in order to keep things more digestible for the average blog reader, over the next few days you’ll be seeing the rest of this “accidental” series in four separate posts:

  1. The nature of the storm: 12 things every parent should know about dealing with tantrums
  2. Preparing for the storm: 7 ways to batten down the hatches before a tantrum hits
  3. In the midst of the storm: 7 methods of coping with tantrums 
  4. The aftermath of the storm: 9 do’s and don’ts of post-tantrum follow-up 

Although I’m no parenting expert, I do have a passion for healthy families and I’m gaining more and more understanding all the time. I hope that some of what I’ve learned (and am learning) will be helpful for other moms too.

The nature of the storm: 12 things every parent should know about dealing with tantrums

1.     Tantrums are a normal part of the development process as children learn that they are separate beings from their mamas/parents. They are part of a necessary struggle which helps children to learn emotional coping mechanisms, cultural and family norms, and healthy independence. For most children the onset will occur anywhere from between 9-10 months to two years old. It is considered “normal” for them to reoccur through the toddler and preschool years, but generally cease somewhere between the ages of 4-5 years old. (Remember, these are generalizations.)

2.     Children will not train themselves. As parents we must teach them what is acceptable behavior and what is not. We must also teach them how to cope with difficulties and differences of opinion, as well as how to recognize and manage their emotions.

3.     There is a difference between discipline and punishment. Punishment is a negative consequence for something done that is wrong. Discipline involves teaching, guiding, coaching, and shaping, as well as various forms of positive and negative consequences. Additionally, discipline comes before, during, and after a behavior, whereas punishment only happens after. Discipline is both proactive and responsive whereas punishment is merely reactive.

4.     Tantrums seek results. If your child gets stickers, food, or coddling as a result of his tantrum (bribing him to settle down) then he will throw one whenever he is seeking those types of rewards. If, however, a tantrum gets him very little amounts of attention or even privileges taken away, then he will quickly realize that tantrums won’t get him the results he seeks.

5.     Illness, growth spurts and developmental leaps, teething, and tiredness all escalate your child’s tendency to melt into a tantrum. We still need to help our little ones learn to cope with their emotions when they are feeling “under the weather”. But when they are functioning below their normal capacity it's fair and loving to try and understand where they are coming from, give a little extra grace and help, and try even harder to avoid things you already know are trigger points for your child. 

6.     Consistency in discipline is key. It’s unfair to your child if you discipline one way at home and one way in public – she will never learn what you expect of her nor what she should expect from you. This not only decreases your effectiveness but also undermines your child’s trust. Some make the argument that you don’t want to embarrass your child in public, but I would argue back that you should be as respectful to your child at home when no one is watching as you would in a crowded mall when you are under public scrutiny. Be consistent not only in how you discipline, but in giving your child the respect she deserves.

7.     Let your yes be yes and your no be no… and make sure your husband/partner is on the same page. Children get confused when parents waiver back and forth with different standards and decisions. If you say no, stick with it and make sure to communicate with your partner so that they are not unintentionally undermining your authority. Follow-through in parenting, as well as communication, cooperation, and respect between both parents, are crucial elements for a child to maintain a sense of long-term stability and trust.

8.     Don’t make flippant promises or refusals. Some parents are quick to say “yes” while others are quick to say “no”. When said carelessly both can be detrimental and give fuel to tantrums that could have been avoided. Be aware of your tendency and if your child is pressing you and you’re unsure, tell him you’ll have to think about it. (This one is more applicable to children 2 years or older.)

9.     Remember that your child is an individual and is developing all the time. As helpful as it is to hear from and observe other parents and how they deal with discipline issues, you’ve got to work out what works and doesn’t work for your own child, and what fits within your family value system. (And I imagine this also goes for having more than one child in the home – a home needs consistent standards, but parents also need to take into consideration individual capacities and comprehension levels for each of the children.)

10.  Count the cost for the precedent you will set. Dealing with tantrums is hard work. It’s emotionally and mentally exhausting, and can be physically draining as well. But the work you put into teaching and training your child as they navigate through toddlerhood tantrum territory is nothing compared to the disservice to your child of raising him to think that he can get what he wants by disregarding others and pursuing any means necessary to satisfy his urges and desires.

11.  Be prepared for some trial and error. Sometimes you just need to experiment with different techniques to see how to best discipline your child when she throws tantrums. Since every child is unique, some things will work better than others. This is a learning process for you as much as it is for your child.

12. Choose your battles. Determine what is worth a power-struggle over and what is not. Your toddler will test you on this and that's ok. Stick to your guns if it's a non-negotiable, but don't step onto the battle field unless you really think the outcome/big picture is worth it. Only you as a parent can determine which specific battles are really worth fighting with your child. (The exception, of course, is when your child is bringing harm to another child/individual. Then it is not just your choice, but your responsibility to intervene.)

Dear friends, over the next several days I will also be talking about ways to help prevent tantrums, what to do in the midst of tantrums, and how to follow-up with your child after a tantrum. I hope that these initial tips are a helpful starting place for other parents too. What principles have you learned when it comes to the nature of tantrums?

still learning but committed to parenting well,

adriel booker | the mommyhood memos | 2011
do not reproduce without written permission

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