It was that moment in life when all the knowledge, self-control, and “adulting” is lost to make way for one solid temper tantrum. Don’t get me wrong, I know that I have been so amazingly blessed, my family has been amazingly blessed, and my life is not that bad. But somehow all that “knowing” didn’t keep me from having that temper tantrum moment.
I won’t go into the details of my childishness, but essentially, after a few weeks of up and down, I found myself hitting my knees at one in the morning and accusing Heavenly Father of not being fair. I know, I can’t believe I said it either, but sleep deprived me is similar to hangry me, short tempered and illogical. After accusing our Perfect Parent of being unfair, I followed it up with “I am so angry with you right now and I just need to tell you. I’m sure I’ll get over it, but I’m mad.” Yes, another bad choice I’ll admit. What happened next was testament to Him truly being the Perfect Parent.
In the midst of that tantrum, peace hit me hard. It was like on TV when those people are rescued from a traumatic situation are immediately wrapped tightly in a blanket, except it was a spiritual/emotional blanket. It stayed until I was able to calm down and get the four hours of sleep left. The next day was Sunday and it was like every talk, lesson, and comment in church was a mixture between rebuking /correction and education. I accepted this lesson/consequence for my tantrum and found myself moving forward with confidence and understanding. I also found my desire to make different and better choices stronger.
Then it was my turn. Princess Pea has been working on potty training for the past few months (one of the many reasons why my posts have been spotty) (haha, potty-spotty). *Ahem* anyway, Pea has also entered the stage of “I do it” as well as high emotions when things don’t go her way. It seemed like the smallest thing would set her off into a puddle of tears and tantrums. I am a firm believer in Gottman’s Emotional Intelligence and usually wait until she’s calm to address the issue and talk about better ways to express feelings. But with the endless sea of tantrums and tears, my patience was fading. I tried to stay firm in my loving approach, but sometimes my snarky self would chime in, other times my careless self would tell her to get over it. If you haven’t had a two year old in your life recently, they don’t like it when you tell them to get over it.
One day as I saw my child melt in the puddle of tears because of breaking the rules. She collapsed into the emotional mess and cried. I felt this strong need to hold her in my arms until she was calm before I talked to her about the problem. I held her and wiped her face. She calmed down much sooner. We then talked about her choice and how it wasn’t the best one. We talked about how we can make better choices, but the consequence would stay. Surprisingly, she got it and accepted it.
After that moment, there was another. I found myself responding in the same way: holding her until she was calm, and then talking to her about the problem. I had a moment that I doubted my actions. I was surely reinforcing her bad behavior. She wasn’t really accepting the solution, she was just enjoying the attention. That thought was strongly followed by this one “This is just like He did for you in your tantrum.” Heavenly Father comforted me before he corrected me. I hadn’t had a repeat tantrum…yet, but I was sure when I did, He would respond in the same way. It was then that I believed in this method for Pea, after all, it wasn’t my method, it was His.
I realize my best parenting moments have often come from when I stop and ask myself “How has Heavenly Father parented me?” Following that thought, I find myself parenting with purpose.
This past week I read an article that shared a study about this very situation. When parents show compassion in their child’s emotional distress, then follow it by the consequences or problem solving, children would grow up more resilient and able to handle emotional situations better. Now I know that every child is different and you have to do what is right for that child individually, however, sometimes the best way is to see how Heavenly Father parents you.
What was your best parenting moment?