Is age 8 too young to start hormone therapy?
Seriously. I am currently in the trenches raising a legit emotional roller coaster. One who travels from sweet and accommodating to spawn of Satan in seconds.
And someone gave her a light saber….
This isn’t my first rodeo with tantrums. She is our third child. But I have to say I am super embarrassed tantrums still hold a place in our daily life. She’s 8!
The book Boundaries was a saving grace when raising my oldest child. There is beauty in learning to offer choices to your children as a means of participating in the control of their behavior. My youngest, however?
ME: “Madi, I have set the timer. If you aren’t out of bed by the time it goes off, you will go to bed a half hour earlier tonight.”
(Just a hint, this is how I established a morning routine with my older kids. It’s a sure thing.)
Madi: “I’m not getting out of this bed until you turn off the timer. I hate the timer.”
(What?!? She’s negotiating? Why is this no longer working? Seriously?)
Me: “Forget the timer. You’re getting your butt out of bed NOW because I’m the mom and I said so! And your still going to bed early because this is crazy!”
(Insert tantrum here)
I guess my point is this. The more kids we have, the smarter they get. At this point, they are smarter than me. Which is why we have stopped at three.
I know my limits. And even though this kid is pushing every one of my buttons, there are still a few tricks to temper these tantrums.
Separate from the source:
Now this is tricky. Because the fit is likely being thrown when you are in a time crunch or the middle of a public place. Like Cracker Barrel. Surrounded by people who are no younger than 70 and never would have tolerated this behavior from their kids in public.
But, even Cracker Barrel has some cool rockers on the front porch. Find a way to transfer your child from the current setting and into a quiet and contained environment. At home, this is the bedroom. In public, this might be the bathroom or a quick exit to the car.
Explain why you have are hanging out in 30 degree weather without a coat on the front porch of Cracker Barrel and explain you will not go back inside until the fit subsides.
Trust me, they’ll eventually get cold enough.
Establish Realistic Consequences
Tantrums are truly a control struggle. Had I been a mature adult, I would have told Madi it was her choice to stay in bed, regardless of the timer, but her consequence would still be an earlier bed time. Kids know when we’re blowing steam and they know when we are putting our money where our mouth is. Establish real and meaningful consequences.
If you can’t follow through, don’t throw it out.
The hardest moment of parenthood involved my normally happy to comply middle child. He was acting out in an abnormal way while grocery shopping and I told him he had two more chances to correct his behavior before losing his chance for a happy meal from McDonald’s for lunch.
That was the hardest thing ever. While we enjoyed our chicken nuggets, Lucas man enjoyed peanut butter.
He lived. I lived. You will too.
Learn triggers and avoid pulling when possible.
When tantrums begin, you are walking through a land mine, never quite sure what is going make it blow.
But after a while, patterns emerge.
Triggers typically involve hormones, sleep, rushed schedules and hunger.
If you had a late night last night, know ahead to lay clothes out with a back up plan for a quick breakfast. And take lots of deep breaths.
Don’t grocery shop at nap time.
It’s all common sense.
Except for hormones. No one can predict that craziness!
Remember: You’re the adult.
A hot tempered person stirs up a conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel. ~ Prov. 15:18
Your reaction will trigger theirs. If you yell and scream (like me sometimes) you will only prolong the fit. If you respond in a quiet and authoritative manner offering realistic consequences (like I really want to do), you diffuse the emotions and leave the ball of control in their court.
So, while I’m raising the oldest temper tantrum throwing kid on earth, I’m not giving up hope. Consistency, patience and lots of prayer will continue putting us on track for the behavior we are seeking.
Or, I will end up in jail. No one really knows yet.
But I know your kid isn’t as stubborn as mine so this should work like a charm.
Also, let me know what works for you. You can respond below in the comments section.
Good luck! I’m rooting for you!