The tantrum spectator rules

Sorry for the radio silence recently. I have been somewhat pre-occupied because… it’s here! The youngest is well and truly in the “terrible two’s”.  The horrendous injustice of being two and not being allowed to run into the road, having to wear a coat when it’s raining or freezing, or not being allowed to terrorise other shoppers in the local Tesco with a plastic sword are really testing his patience at the moment… and let me tell you, his mother is sooooo unreasonable (his rolling of the eyes tell me…!)

In the interests of everyone who should witness such a tantrum, I thought it socially responsible to share my thoughts on how NOT to re-act and what NOT to say to a parent in the throes of dealing with a feral two year old… Read and digest for your own safety 😉

Yes I do mean you, the receptionist in the doctors surgery yesterday who told me I might want to “try and keep my children a bit more quiet as there are people here poorlier than you…”   I assume she meant the other ONE patient in the waiting room, who was also a toddler with his mum and merrily joining in the madness, and who had also been waiting over an hour to be seen… Blood boiling!!!!…

Yes I do mean you, the old women in Sainsbury’s who feel the need to share with me stories starting with “In my day…” – my face clearly says, I don’t give a shit love… and they swiftly move on…

Yes I do mean you, the other mums who sigh and grimace in the street/ shop/ train/ café, like they have never had to deal with it and who really should know better…

  1. “Someone’s not happy”… When you are mid humiliation of your child throwing an absolute fit over, let’s face it, usually nothing!, someone stating the bleedin’ obvious is incredibly unhelpful. Don’t say it, it’s just annoying!
  2. “Someone woke up on the wrong side of bed this morning”… Meaningless statements are also incredibly unhelpful. Again don’t say it, it’s just annoying!
  3. “When my son/ daughter used to do that”… I know this is possibly said with the intention of being helpful, but comparing my child to a complete strangers is often pointless. Plus don’t you think I have tried all possible ways to stop this maniacal behaviour…? And even if you have a super dooper, tried and tested, gold star method of stopping the terrible-twos-tantrums, imparting this nugget of sacred knowledge is probably not best done when I am trying to remove my child without him hurting himself or me and with a shred of dignity in tact… (wishful thinking?!?)
  4. “He’s a feisty one”… We all know this is code for “Well he’s a little shit isn’t he!” Trust me, I am well aware of this and having it pointed out doesn’t do anyone any favours. The dictionary definition of feisty is as follows:

of a person (typically one who is relatively small), lively, determined and courageous. Can also mean touchy and aggressive.’

I think I should submit a photo of my ‘feisty’ one as an example of this in practice… But that would probably scare everyone and it would be filed under

‘Maniac: a person exhibiting extremely wild or violent behaviour’

  1. “Oh dear”… I’m not sure what response this is supposed to elicit? I say this to my four year old when he tells me he’s stubbed his toe, or when I’m talking to an elderly relative and need a less rude way of saying “bollocks”. The only response possible to a stranger saying this while you’re in tantrum management mode is, at best, a polite smile that says “oh no it’s fine, he just having a funny five minutes”…, at worst, a sarcastic grimace and death stare from mother to spectator that says “comment on this again and I will hurt you”.
  2. The sigh/ eyebrow raise/ grimace/ tut… By far and away the worst response/ reaction. Whilst the above are often annoying, more humiliating or just silly things to say, saying nothing but looking on in pity, sometimes disgust, and often with thinly veiled annoyance, makes the whole episode even more unbearable. No parent encourages or invites their child to act out in public – it’s just what they do when they are trying to assert control, vent their frustrations, are ill, tired, scared, just in a bad mood, or any or all of the above. No matter how confident or ballsy the mother is, it’s embarrassing and annoying and not how you want to spend your time with your child.

Instead of throw away comments, platitudes, looks or noises, what I’d love for someone to do when I am next in TMM (tantrum management mode) is to firstly ignore me/ us and let us slink away and deal with our meltdown without having to deal with everyone else’s reactions too!!

Or even better, if you do feel the need to say something, or you catch my eye as I try and stop my demon child from reaching hysteria, just say “I’ve been there too”, “You’re doing a great job”, “Don’t worry about it”, “Keep going, you’ll be fine”, “Let me buy you some chocolate”…  I would really love the last one to happen!

The “terrible twos” or whatever you want to call them are common, all kids go through it to some degree, they do eventually grow out of it (thank God!!!), and in the meantime we just need to grin and bear it.  We all hate it and fear our children have turned into monsters forever – this doesn’t mean we don’t still love them with every fibre of our being of course, we are just on tender hooks waiting for the next blood curdling scream which leads to meltdown because, God forbid, Hey Duggee has finished!!!

So let’s stand together and not make someone’s next meltdown worse – I feel your pain my friends and have your back every time. So go F yourselves the sighers, eye rollers, grimacers and sarcy commenters – you are not welcome here.

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