Out-Tantruming a Tantrum is a Silly Notion

The only path to peace is through making the personal choice to be peaceful.

I can’t out-tantrum your tantrum. I can’t out-hit your hit. I can’t shame you into being any less sad or any less angry. That is suppression. Things that are suppressed and held down and intimidated into hiding… Still exist. They eventually come out.

No. If I want you to grow peacefully I have to be that peace. I have to show you that this is what people grow into as they grow bigger. Quieter. More calm.

I can’t stand there angry at your anger and insist that you stop being angry RIGHT NOW. I might as well stomp my feet and slam the door on the way out. I don’t need to show you that adults have tantrums too. Either tantrums are something that people can control, and I can show you that by controlling my own and understanding that is something that you are growing into…

Or tantrums are something so seething and wild and beyond our self control that even I, as a grownup, will throw them. If that’s the case what… the… heck… am I doing standing here as a grownup and looking at you, a two year old or a four year old or an eight year old and telling you to control yourself?

That is teaching you nothing.

I understand that you’re angry, child. I know what anger feels like. It’s not a comfortable feeling. It is okay to be angry and you can learn how to calm that feeling.

You may not always get it perfect. I still slip up at 34. I am trying hard to change that, though.

  2 comments for “Out-Tantruming a Tantrum is a Silly Notion

  1. MaryMargaret
    November 25, 2014 at 2:35 pm

    ::wild applause::

  2. Kristin
    November 25, 2014 at 11:32 pm

    Great point, Sarah.

    When my daughter was still just an infant, she went through a rough phase: difficulty sleeping, clingy, fussy, and generally exhausting. When things finally settled down, a friend asked me if we ever found out what was causing it.

    “It was me,” I told her. I was going through a depressive phase, and I saw how I felt reflected back at me through my baby. I had no peace, so how could she be peaceful?

    This is not me mommy-shaming myself. Depression sucks, but it’s a part of me and will be for the rest of my life. I have to change my expectations during the hard times: what I expect of myself and what I expect of my child.

    If you want a peaceful child, show her peace. If you want a happy child, show him happiness. And if you struggle, show your child resilience.

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