My toddler just had a meltdown. I'm talking sitting on the floor, crying hysterically, inconsolable because we were outside, she wasn't listening, and I made her come inside. I could feel myself getting frustrated with her so I took a deep breath and picked her up and we went and sat on the couch until she calmed down. I spoke softly to her while she cried, encouraged her to stop crying, and tell me what was wrong. She was calm within a few minutes because I was calm. I'm not saying I'm a perfect parent. I am far from it, but I do try to improve my parenting skills every day and be a better today than I was yesterday.
The thing is toddlers don't have the language skills or the emotional understanding to express what they are feeling verbally. Yes, I believe my toddler was mad, but she doesn't have the words to tell me she was mad that she had to come inside. She also doesn't have the language skills to necessarily understand why we had to come inside. She was expressing her frustration the only way she knew how...by crying and pitching a fit.
In moments like these try to put yourself in your toddlers place. Physically get down on their level. Sit with them, hold them, talk to them calmly. Help your toddler learn how to express themselves by letting them know it's okay to tell you when they are mad/sad/frustrated/happy/etc. Encourage your toddler to stop crying and talk to you as much as they are able at this young age.
If you need a time out then take a time out. It's better to remove yourself from the situation or ask a trusted friend or family member to hang out with your child for a few minutes while you calm down than it is to take your frustrations out on your child. Never discipline your child when you are angry or take your frustrations out on your child. Remember your child isn't doing anything wrong...they are acting like a toddler, learning self expression. You have a choice to maintain control and be patient with your child. You have the ability to maintain control and demonstrate patience.
Parenting is hard. It's a lot of work. It takes a lot of patience. Your child needs and deserves an amazing parent. That doesn't mean being a perfect parent, but rather it means that you actively work on your parenting skills. We all need help and advice from time to time.
Serenity Counseling Online is here to help. Whether you are looking to strengthen your parenting skills, need someone to talk to about parenting, or have questions on how to work with your particular child don't hesitate to contact us.