*Note - this is mostly just a reminder for me...it's been a rough week.
I've been reading a book called "Raising your Spirited Child". It's wonderful and had helped me to better understand my daughter (and myself).
One of the things it's helped me change perspective on is tantrums. Hana began throwing fits at about 10 months of age, and since then she's become an expert. She gets so intense, her face gets red, she screams, lays down on the floor crying, moans. It's quite a site. Usually I'm left wondering what it is I'm supposed to do.
I could give her what it is she wants, but there is always a reason she shouldn't have it (like when the phone rings and she wants to answer it). I could get mad at her, but that isn't productive. I could ignore it, but ignoring things doesn't really make them go away.
Instead I try to understand it. The disappointment, the frustration, the inability to communicate, the sense of injustice, of misunderstanding. Those are a lot of really big things for a very young child to have to deal with. Heck, those are things that I still have trouble dealing with now and then, let alone having to deal with them all together. When she throws a fit it's not because she's "bad" or somehow wanting to ruin my day. It's because she feels a lot and just doesn't know what to do with it.
I don't want Hana to hold in her emotions. I don't want her to feel ashamed or somehow "bad" because she has a need to cry to express how she feels. I don't want her to be one of those kids (or one of those adults) who is unable to handle their emotions and so instead ignores them.
I want her to learn how to express those feeling and work through them in a healthy way. I name them for her, telling her I understand she's frustrated and confused, that it doesn't seem fair, but it really is for her safety. I hold her while she cries, or take her up to our bed and let her have her soother for a few minutes while she calms down. When she gets frustrated because of her inability in some area I help her accomplish whatever task she's set her mind to. When she wants something that is not allowed I do my best to show her other options. I want her to be able to problem solve, to express herself, to work out her emotions.
And I need to remember that. Especially while she's getting in four molars at the same time, when sleep is being interrupted, and the constant pressure and pain in her mouth cut down her tolerance level, when we're both stuck in the house too much and need some more stimulation. When it seems like the only things she wants are things she knows she's not allowed to have.