I had an epiphany about my four year old son last night. He was over tired, and over sugared, because you know it was Halloween. Around bed time he started to throw a tantrum because he did not want to go to bed. He lost any bedtime privileges and was sent immediately to his room. Then he really started crying, but it wasn’t an angry cry. It was a sad confused cry, and my instincts kicked in that what he needed was to be comforted, not to be disciplined. I’m not saying this is what you should always do. There are definitely times when a tantrum should not be tolerated or given into. I wasn’t giving into him either. He was still going to bed, because IT WAS bed time.
I walked in, and found him rocking himself on the glider that is in his room, he was bawling. It was loud, and the kind of crying that makes me want to hide under a blanket in a closet somewhere. I told myself that I could do this, and so I sat down on his bed. I didn’t say anything. I just waited, and looked at him. He finally calmed himself down, but then started up again. Except this time he got up and threw himself into my lap. He wrapped his arms around me, and put his little head on my shoulder. I continued not to say anything, and just wrapped my arms around him, and rocked him. He finally calmed down, and asked me where his daddy was. I told him he had gone to bed, and he didn’t say anything more. He ended up putting his head back on my shoulder, and then was out within minutes.
All this to say I’m glad I trusted my instincts. He was just overwhelmed with all the festivities that Halloween had brought that day, including school.
So my epiphany; it was that sometimes you don’t say anything, especially when you’re angry. Sometimes you have to put your big girl pants on, and realize you’re dealing with a little person. That’s full of feelings that they don’t quite know how to deal with. So sometimes you go in, and you wait for them to calm down. Then you listen to them, and you comfort them.
You just love them.