Tantrum Parenting in Ten Easy Steps

As the Child has neared her third birthday I’ve become increasingly more smug that we seemed to have mainly avoided the tantrum phase. After all it’s an absolute unequivocal fact that the ‘twos’ are the worst; the most terrible. Right? Well it turns out that’s just what parents of three year olds tell you so they can laugh in your face when the tantrum shit hits the fan (and occasionally real shit, but more of that at a later date). The Child may still be a few weeks away from three (she’s VERY advanced) but the last couple of weeks have seen her occasional quite cute strops turn into full on scream-fests. We’ve got feet stamping, shouting (with the occasional obscenity, I have no idea where’s she picked that up from. I blame nursery), red-faced finger pointing and door slamming (ok I’ll admit it, that’s usually me). It’s certainly made me lose my temper more than I’m proud of and pushed us all to our limits. If we’re to cope with and survive this stage of parenting (however long it lasts) I feel like it is essential that we understand the tantrum process. So, I’ve identified the ten parenting stages of tantruming. Let’s learn to heal together…

  1. Denial

Inability to admit that either your child is having a tantrum or that the child having a tantrum is yours.

  1. Shock

What the fucking fuck is happening?

  1. Emotional release

Beginning to realise how awful and embarrassing the situation is and feeling compelled to express your distress in ever increasing volume in the general direction of your child.

Whinge Whinge Wine Tantrum Parents Siblings
Sharing is not caring in toddler-town. Credit: Whinge Whinge Wine
  1. Desperation, loneliness and complete isolation

Feelings of complete no hope – everyone is looking, everyone is judging and everyone is giving you the slitty side-eyes and pursed lips combo. Complete belief that this has never happened to any parent ever in the history of the world.

  1. Panic

Convinced that the tantrum will never stop. That this is it. This is your life. You’ll be wrestling flailing limbs until the day you die.

Dr Mummykins Tantrum Parenting on a bike
At least on a bike you can wheel them away. Credit: Dr Mummykins
  1. Empty threats and bribery

Determination to remove all things of value and emotional significance, swiftly followed by promises of shining new or chocolaty things until something works.

  1. Guilt

Recalling threats/ bribery used to dissipate this particular tantrum and convincing yourself it will lead to our child becoming a drug lord/ pimp/ someone who parks in parent/ child spaces when they have no child.

  1. Hostility

Feelings of resentment towards the child that put you in this situation and caused stage 1 – 7. Any expressions of love will be treated with complete suspicion and as emotional manipulation.

The Unsung Mum Tantrum Parents at Breakfast
Tantrum in the morning, shepherds’ warning. Credit: The Unsung Mum
  1. Gradual renewing of normal activities

Emotional balance returns little by little. Your jaw slowly becomes unclenched. This usually coincides with moving away from anyone that witnessed the tantrum.

  1. Wine

To the victor go the spoils. The bigger the tantrum the bigger the glass.

Big thanks and sloppy kisses to Whinge Whinge Wine, Dr Mummykins and The Unsung Mum for their tantrum photos. I’m always too busy buying wine in preparation for step ten to take photos of the Child’s tantrums.


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  1. I read this the other day and both times I have gone through my first reaction has been oh your kids look like whinge whinge wine’s kids! Hahaha. Should really read the quote first 😉 I love this post. Mine recently became very ill with little man flu and I had 2 weeks of him behaving like the most bratty child in the world. I was so glad when it was all over 😉

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