Getting Real with Shadra Bruce
Those big crocodile tears spell nothing but trouble. You not only have to deal with the cuteness factor that makes you feel like an evil parent for not just giving in to whatever it is will make those tears go away, but the wails that often follow are not pleasant (especially when you’re in public).
No matter what though, in these desperate times, you’ve got to stay tough.
Kids turn on the waterworks for a number of reasons, but often the tantrum arises simply from want. They really do need that third cookie, or they don’t want to go to the grocery store, or they do not want the purple dress today.
The reason for the meltdown is not nearly as important as your response. You can understand their distress, but unless you’re willing to have the same behavior when your cute little toddler is a teen, you’ve got to be firm. Your child will learn all too quickly that it will only take a bit of wailing and tears until they get what they want.
There’s a good chance that things will get worse before they get better. The last thing you want to do is reinforce bad behavior, so you have to tough it out. Let your child cry it out (only when it’s a tantrum, not when they’re hurt, scared, sick, or otherwise truly in need). The second the tears stop, that’s when you want to offer attention. They’ll learn pretty quickly that they will only get a response when they are not screaming. In the moment (especially the public meltdown moment) it is easier to give in, but staying strong will save you a lot of trouble in the long run.