Monday, 7 November 2011

On Tantrums: Walking in their (teeny weeny) shoes.

Imagine you are getting ready to go out to your work's annual christmas party. You wear that new cocktail dress you spent a small fortune on, finish off your make-up and spray on a wisp of your favourite Christian Dior perfume.

All that is needed to complete the image of perfection that you are, is that beautiful pair of shoes you bought especially for the occasion. Your colleagues are going to be green!

You head to your wardrobe, full of confidence and feeling like a million dollars, only to find that hubby has donated your new shoes, along with every other pair you own, to an op shop!!!

You would lose it right? Probably raise your voice a bit, possibly throw a few things around and cry. Or maybe I'm being a bit too generous. Maybe you'd be throttling hubby!

Maybe you are not that into shoes (like Whoa Mumma seems to be).

Well then, imagine being Daisy from Daisy, Roo and Two and having your phone taken away.

Or if you are Gemma, from My Big Nutshell, having your storage boxes all emptied and repacked randomly.

In brief, imagine something that you hold dear, that means the world to you, being taken away. You would freak out right?

Well, that is exactly how a child feels when they are told that they cannot have a chocolate before dinner or when they cannot find a certain toy. And so starts the crying. To us it may seem like a pitiful reason to be crying. It's just chocolate! But to them, it means the world. To them, it's a tragedy. They don't care about shoes and phones. Their world revolves around toys and play and chocolate. And they don't get the logic of not having dessert before dinner either! (Sometimes I don't get that one too!)

Add to that the fact that toddlers can't express how they feel and you have all the ingredients for a tantrum. Again, put yourself in their shoes. Imagine being so angry because all your shoes were given away and not being able to voice how you feel or worst having all these emotions and not understanding what they are. So that all you CAN do is cry in despair and frustration.

And then...! Picture your partner saying "That's enough! You are carrying on like a pork chop. It's just SHOES!". Wouldn't that drive you mad? You've lost all your shoes, you can't express how you are feeling because you don't have the words for it and then your partner basically tells you to get over it?!? Wouldn't you want to scream too?

Seeing the world from a child's perspective can sometimes help us better understand their behaviors. And I am not suggesting that the tantrum should be tolerated, not at all! In fact, it should be dealt with as early as possible (that's a whole different post). But perhaps seeing it through their eyes helps US cope with the tantrums better. If we can empathize with the child, we are more likely to stay calm and help them deal with their frustration instead of perceiving them as spoilt brats, crying for no reason. It's easier not to take the tantrum personally.

So next time your child throws himself on the floor, or you see someone else's child kicking and screaming at the shops, try walking in their teeny weeny shoes... It'll make a world of difference, for both of you.

To finish off, have a look at this video of kids being told that all their Halloween candies are gone. You can really see what a tragedy it is for them!

Dessert photo source: Sura Nualpradid


  1. Those poor bloody kids!!
    I actually try really hard to see things from Roo's perspective as much as possible. Tantrums and crying most often end in a cuddle and then a new game or new song here, because I've been known to throw a tantrum or two in my time and I completely understand that feeling of helplessness!

  2. Hahaha Daisy, I'm imagining Pal singing you a new song while cuddling you after you've thrown a tantrum!

  3. Must be the morning for tantrum posts, cause I just wrote my own. It is hard for kids; so very hard.
    And Boatman better not touch my shoes!

  4. That's great Jess! Not the tantrums, your post. sending some queries your way.

  5. Great post Anna. I try to empathise with Miss 3 and see things from here perspective, but the force and intensity of her emotions totally wear me out. I have compassion fatigue!! What do I do now?

  6. Thanks Lee! Jess from Diary of a stay at home mum ( has just posted some tips on dealing with tantrums and has done a brilliant job at it. She'll be posting new tips every Monday, so I'd definitely recommend you pay her a visit. I hope you can get some reprieve soon :-/


Aaaah, you are leaving your opinion! I love it!