Terrible Seven

People will tell you that the Terrible Two
is just phase. “Two-year-old toddlers throw tantrums to test your limit. This is
a phase that will quickly pass. Just hang in there,” they say.

This is so not true. The terrible two phase
can happen at any age.
At 7 this year, Isabel is being a terrible
7, constantly testing my patience to its limit. Her tantrums had never been as
terrible as it is now. In fact, she was a very sweet 2-year old toddler.  Even when she had tantrums during that age,
it has never been as bad as it is now. And it definitely was not as frequent as now.

Everything that does not go her way sets
off her tantrum. Even very simple things, like who sends her for gymnastic
class. I usually send her for her class but on one Saturday, I could not send
her at the last minute. She threw a big fit when Daddy told that he would be sending her instead. Her
screaming and crying continued for more than an hour, that she missed her class
Or the time when we went to a Chinese
coffee shop for dinner. The moment Daddy parked the car and she saw that we
were going to eat at a coffee shop, she started screaming that she doesn’t want
to eat there. All reasoning went out the window with the crying. She continued
to cry loudly at the coffee shop and everyone kept turning around to look at
us. I felt so bad for ruining their peaceful dinner. She continued crying and screaming all
through dinner and another half an hour after we left.And let’s not forget about the time when she started crying at the mall the moment she found out that we are going to have dinner at a restaurant that she did not choose. She started crying outside the restaurant, all the way walking to our table and after we had sat down. I was so stressed out and did not want to have another episode in public. So I took her by her hand and dragged her out of the restaurant and went home straight away before we could even order our food.

These are just a few of the many other
incidents that had happened since the start of the year.

She is so fortunate that we do not practice
caning or smacking in our family. I have been truly, truly tempted to just
smack her whenever she threw a tantrum.
I have asked her why she kept throwing
tantrums. She told me that she cannot control her anger. She tried but she just
could not help it, she explained. So I told her to take a deep breath, count to
10 and pray the moment she feels a tantrum coming. We even practiced it together.
I know that it is much easier said than
done. I could advise her how she can control her anger but I am having
difficulty practicing it myself. Before I could even take a deep breath and
count to 3, my anger has already exploded. Every time she throws a tantrum, it
seems like it is a switch that turns on my anger. I would be screaming and she
would be crying her lungs out. So you can imagine the scene….
When we went out in public, it took all my
strength to control myself. It’s bad enough for the restaurant customers to have
a kid screaming while they are trying to enjoy a meal. Adding a screaming
mother would totally ruin their time.So what I do when we are outside is to gather all my patience and try to reason with her. When that fails, I just totally ignore her (and everyone around who are staring at us) and let her cry all she wants. I am sure there are many people who would look at me disapprovingly, thinking that I am doing such a bad job at disciplining my kid.

Daddy and I had taken turns to talk to her each time she has recovered from her tantrum. After so many incidents, I think the best way to stop a tantrum before it goes full-fledged was to control my own emotions first. When she is on the verge of losing her temper, I had to first control my anger. When I get angry with her, she gets even angrier. As I have told her that we both need to control ourselves, she will tell me when I am starting to raise my voice. It reminds me that she is not the only one who has to control herself but I need to keep myself in check as well.

Another way we tried to deal with these incidents was to take away her iPad. She got grounded by having her precious iPad taken away for a week for each incident. So far she is serving the fourth week out of a total of ten weeks. It seems to be working as we have not been adding another week for quite sometime,

At the mean time, we promised to try to
teach each other to keep our cool. We are supposed to remind each other to
control our emotions. I suppose that I should be doing a better job at it since
I am the adult and should be showing her a good example.Raising kids is such a difficult thing to do….


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