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February 03, 2006

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Here’s a hug for you (((((Alice)))))
If tantrum throwing were an Olympic event, my children would have been
gold medallists. I have abandoned full grocery carts at the check-out.
I have missed the better part of fun field trips with our homeschool group
to move somewhere farther away until “the storm passed.” I have overheard
strangers say of my preschoolers, “What he/she really needs is a good spanking!” as I sat beside them in quiet frustration,
both of us in "Time Out." Again.

I know you’ve probably had lots of experience with this, but sometimes
it’s surprising when it doesn’t seem to get any easier. Intellectually, we know it’s just “a phase” and that *one day*, the child will decide that these tantrums are a futile waste of energy. But *today* is hard. What about today?
"For Pete’s sake, he’s four years old!" we tell ourselves. "He’s not a baby anymore."
The child is stuck in a loop of anger, and we mothers get angry, too.
And embarrassed. And weary of it.
We are only human.
And we have such a strong connection and empathy
with our children. It’s so hard not to get swept up into the tornado of emotion, to feel that this child’s behavior is somehow a reflection on your parenting.

Prayer is best, I think.

The next best thing? Try to keep a sense of humor (yeah, right!).
A wise mother once wrote this (I’m sorry, I cannot remember her name)but I saved it, and found comfort in her perspective.

“Imagine if your husband insisted on taking you to the hardware store to
shop for his tools, then to the auto fixit place, then to some T.V. store
to watch televised fishing for a little while, and then to the driving range to let you watch him hit a bucket of balls. I think
that's what it's like for them when we run errands with them.”

The phase did pass.
My children are so pleasant and polite today.
Strangers often comment on this now, and I’m so grateful remembering all those abandoned grocery carts!
Love,
Ann

Many thanks, Ann! I am so glad to read these words of wisdom.

Alice, thank you so much for writing this---I was beginning to think you were perfect! Maybe there is hope for me after all.

I had a similar experience with my 2- and 3-olds today, but I had yet to realize the self-centered nature of my reaction, much less the need to offer Mary's fiat in response. So I guess this makes you just almost perfect, and me still a long way from Home. :)

Oh, Diane, thank you! I am frighteningly far from perfect, but very grateful to you for your kind words.

Oh, Alice, we've all been there and quite unfortunately done that. :-)

I, too, am always ashamed when I put my own feelings and reactions ahead of actually dealing with my children and what they need. These lessons are so humbling, but so spiritually valuable. They help us to grow in the ability to truly put our children and what they need above ourselves.

And the truly sad thing, dear Alice, is that we mothers are alone in our shame over our children's bad behaviour. Our Blessed Mother can't relate because, after all, her child was PERFECT! ;)

Wonderful post, Alice. We all have those times, to be sure. Tantruming toddlers are a mother's toughest challenge!
Ah, but Margaret, I think Our Lady CAN relate. She knows what it is like to have her child's behavior misunderstood, judged and reviled by strangers in public. And having to stand by, powerless to convince them otherwise. I am sure there are times when she would rather have grabbed Jesus by the arm and led him away from it all!LOL!

Alice,

I love you.....

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