Before I became a mother, I read up on all the ways to dismantle a toddler's temper tantrum with a confidence I can now only assume to be pre-child ignorance. I figured if my child ever threw a fit in the middle of a grocery store aisle, I would be handle it without breaking a sweat and my partner would be the one clueless and unsure as to what to do. Yeah, I was wrong. Turns out there are ways every grown-ass man responds to a toddler's tantrums, and my partner just knew them instinctually. Phew. Sure, they might be unconventional, wacky, and even downright harsh at times, but you know what? They get the job done.
Of course I would like to think that my children are perfect and I would love to tell you that they never, ever, throw a tantrum but, you know, I would be lying my ass off. When it comes to tantrums, my two children have had their fair share and they excel at meltdowns just like any other kid. I've picked my screaming daughter off the grocery store floor and I've carried my kicking son out of the house and I've straight-up left a restaurant when both of my darling children conspired against me, performing their worst impression of well-behaved kids I have ever seen in my entire life.
What I've learned in dealing with this madness (for ten years now) is that my partner and I have different angles on how to approach one of these "episodes," and that's OK. In the end, we've found what works best for us individually and as a parenting team, and that's all you can ask for. So, with that in mind, here are some ways every grown-ass man (like my partner) responds to toddler's tantrums.
He Ignores The Tantrum Entirely
For me, the ignore tactic with a toddler tantrum doesn't work. Maybe I'm too soft and maybe all the screaming gets to me in a way it doesn't get to him, but his ability to pretend it's not happening is inspiring and I wish I could be so strong.
He's Not Above Using Snacks
I don't know how my partner doubles ass a safe haven for food, but I'm glad he has. Typically, when my kids are having a full-on meltdown, it's because they're frustrated, tired, or hungry. I sometimes forget to bring a snack or water but my grown-ass man (and food-lover himself) always remembers. After all, he gets grumpy when he hasn't been fed, too.
He Uses Humor To Defuse The Situation
I must admit, my partner is generally the fun one in the house while I'm the drill instructor, always equipped with a list of rules and regulations. So, when our youngest drops to the floor and flails and screams, my partner has been known to do the same. When I do it, it's terrifying and makes my children cry more. When he does it, it's funny and ends the tantrum cold. I don't know what the secret is and, well, maybe I'm not meant to.
He Takes The Time To Document The Situation
Tantrums, like my son's talk of bodily functions, are especially embarrassing in public and just plain annoying at home. While my method might be to pry the crying child off the floor, my partner might pull out his phone and take a picture. Maybe it's that we live in such a technological age, or maybe this is how grown-ass men handle tantrums. Regardless, both children never fail to stop and pose, if only for a moment, so I guess it's working?
He Simply Laughs It Off
There's nothing better than a good, hearty laugh — except when it's from your partner at your child's expense. Although as much as it pains me to say, sometimes the way a tantrum manifests is, well, hilarious to watch.
Do they know what they look like when they're flailing their little arms and legs? No. However, if they did I'm sure they'd laugh, too. This is another thing my grown-ass man totally gets because funny is funny, whether it's your kid or someone else's.
He Uses The Power Of Distraction
Sometimes my partner's virtual habits get in the way of life. You can miss a lot of things when you're staring at your phone screen all day.
However, I'll admit that there have been more than a few times when that phone screen has come in handy, and I think all grown-ass men understand a tantrum is one of those times. If my son is in a raging, all-out war on the living room floor over which socks I put on him, my partner knows to swoop in with a cool superhero video on his phone to lift the tantrum right out of the room. It's really a talent, I think.
He Simply Walks Away
Along the same lines as ignoring the tantrum as it's happening, sometimes my partner walks away altogether. If we're at the store, he'll walk to another aisle (within a reasonable distance, of course), and he'll do it without so much as a wince. Incredibly, this stops the fit almost as soon as it started. Though I'm not comfortable handling it this way, my partner doesn't think twice. If your kid is having a meltdown and your grown-ass man walks away, consider it a win because I'll bet your child gets up and follows.
He Knows A Tantrum Is His Responsibility To Handle, Too
A grown-ass man isn't going to leave the toddler tantrums up to his partner, because he's aware that gender stereotypes have no place in a parenting partnership (or anywhere else, for that matter).
No matter how he decides to handle the situation (as long as it's in a safe, healthy and respectful way) he knows it's his to handle, too. A grown-ass man isn't going to throw up his hands and say, "Well, that's your issue, you deal with it," because, hey, he's a parent, too.
He Stops To Ask Himself One Very Important Question
At the root of every toddler's tantrum, there's a cause. It might be something easily fixable — like hunger, fatigue, or not getting a toy they want — but sometimes there's a deeper issue. Although it's not easy, every parent should know how to decipher between the different types of tantrums and how to handle each as they come. If the problem is, say, something that happened at school or a certain way your child is feeling about something, a grown-ass man asks the important questions: Are you OK? What is bothering you? Can you use your words so I can understand you? Can you tell me what happened to make you so sad? In taking the time to check in with your kid, emotionally, you're not only showing your child empathy but giving them a chance to be heard.
Dealing with fits and tantrums is the worst. I've been there and still don't always know how to handle them. Lucky for me, I have a grown-ass man who knows how to respond to our toddler's tantrums in a healthy, safe, respectful and sometimes downright funny way. So, technically, I'm off the hook for the next flare-up, right?