As a parent and as a human, I try to be as open and honest about everything as possible. But there's a limit to that honesty, isn't there? Because sometimes the honest thoughts that are in my head are neither constructive nor kind, and certainly not appropriate for children. Take, for instance, the things I wish I could tell a kid throwing a tantrum, specifically if that kid is one of mine.
The crappiest thing about tantrums is that there is no level at which they make logical sense. Their onset doesn't make sense and, once a kid is in the thick of one, no amount of logic will pull them out of the inferno. Tantrums, unfortunately, are generally something you just have to ride out. But here's my particular challenge: I'm a talker, and open about my feelings, which is really useful, I find, in parenting. But I'm also a smartass, which isn't always useful in parenting. Unfortunately, the more stressed I am, the more likely the smartass is to come out.
Oh you can for sure sprinkle smartassery in your parenting from time to time and it's fine, but in a tantrum situation? It's best left unspoken. When tempers are running high and everyone is stressed out, venting your honest (and completely understandable!) frustration, even in a smart-alecky way, isn't your best bet.
But wouldn't it feel really good?
Here's many of the things I'd love to say, but try my hardest not to.
"Are You F***ing Kidding Me With This Sh*t?"
Honestly, if you haven't used some variation of this one you have more self-control than I, friend.
"You're The Worst"
It's best not to actually tell your child they're being really terrible... but, like, they are being really terrible and I feel like they should know that sometimes!
"This Is So Stupid"
Again, this isn't terribly helpful IRL and it's just going to make an angry kid angrier and/or feel stupid on top of feeling angry. But this tantrum is stupid. It makes no sense and they need to realize that and chill out and why don't they just understand that?! But, alas, children under the best of circumstances are not rational creatures and are much less so in the throes of a temper tantrum.
"I Want To Crawl Into A Hole & Die"
We're not supposed to care what other people think of us, I know. But here, in the middle of this Target, I deeply care what all of these staring people think about me, as a parent, whose child has thrown themselves on the ground and is screaming at the top of their lungs.
"This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things"
The next time you want to know why we can't go here or do this or have that, please know that this is why. Because I know there's the very real risk of a meltdown like this and I don' want to deal.
This is on you, kid. Congratulations. You played yourself.
Oh what's that? You're pitching a fit because you don't get that toy? OMG you poor deprived thing! It's so sad that you don't get to have any toys at all!
Wait, you actually have a room full of toys? And you just got one last week (or whatever)? And not only that you have, like, three slightly different versions of the same thing you're wailing that I'm not giving you right now?
"Your Sibling Is My Favorite Right Now"
I know we're not supposed to have favorites and in the grand scheme of things I don't, but I absolutely have situational favorites. Like, right now you're a shrieking harpy embarrassing the crap out of me and your sibling is calmly stroking my arm saying, "It's OK, mommy."
"I Don't Actually Give A F*ck, But You've Escalated This To The Point Where I Can't Back Down"
Honestly, this started out as so not a big deal and if you'd kept a cool head I probably would have changed my mind. But you had to go and dial it up to 11 and now all bets are off and I am made of iron. I am unyielding and unbreakable. You will not win.
"Now I'm Just Saying No Out Of Spite"
Because my feelings are hurt and I'm annoyed and, yeah, a little petty. I'm not sorry. Life's not fair and, sometimes, neither am I. Deal with it.
"I Am Literally Cringing At The Sound Of Your Voice"
Again, you can't tell your kid how actually repulsive you find their voice... but you really wish you could because it is sometimes. How do they even make that thin, whiny, but horribly loud high-pitched droning sound?
"I'm Doing This So You Don't Turn Into A Garbage Person"
Look, I know I seem like an unfeeling monster who wants you to be unhappy, but this really has to do with boundaries and limits and not spoiling you and basically making sure you don't turn into an entitled douchebag who believes the world should revolve around his or her whims. You need to know that you don't always get what you want and that is often disappointing but it's also OK and you're resilient enough to move on from it.
"Couldn't You Have Saved This For Your Other Parent?"
Seriously, let them deal with your bullsh*t sometimes, for the love of God. Why do you save it all up for me?
"I Cannot Wait For You To Go To Bed Tonight"
It's not that I don't want to deal with you anymore... I just don't want to deal with you anymore today. At all. In spite of the nightmare tantrum I'm dealing with, I love you more than I've ever loved anyone or anything. But seriously, go away. Go to bed. Let me have three minutes to myself before I too pass out. We'll both wake up better.