Oh, it’s so frustrating! You’ve just repeated yourself for the third time asking your child not to (fill in the blank) again. They’re either forgetting, not listening or openly defying your request. It’s one of those days when you just feel like the worst parent in the world because it seems like all you’re saying all day long is “no” or “stop that!” and you feel like your tone is constantly harsh and angry.
I think this is easily one of the most frustrating parts of parenting. Dealing with disobedience and misbehavior and tantrums and…this isn’t what I signed up for as a dad…right? Unfortunately, it is included in the deal and is something I have to think about and handle more than I would like. I’m sure I’ll experience this with my daughter at some point but right now it is definitely the toddler who is pushing my buttons. I have heard more than once that three is worse than the “terrible twos” and only 3 months in I’m really starting to agree. Emotions run so high and low with toddlers and I have seen many a funny meme from a parent talking about the ridiculous things their little one threw a tantrum over. Then there is the flat out defiance and seeing if mom and dad are really going to follow-through on the consequences that we state.
It is really difficult to stay balanced and calm with all this happening. Too often my gut reaction is anger and raising my noise level. Sometimes this is necessary and effective, but often I just feel like I’m being mean and grumpy and am forgetting the developmental level and thinking ability of the one causing my frustration. My son needs discipline, but he also needs love and affirmation. I also have to step back and remember … this is normal! He’s a three year old kid still trying to figure out the world and his place in it, and often he is a reflection of me, my best (and worst!) qualities…isn’t that a scary thought?!
I have to admit I actually really appreciate when I hear other parents talking about this kind of stuff because it makes me realize…OK…it’s not just me….its’ not just my kid…all kids do this! My child isn’t acting out because he thinks it’s fun (mostly…); he’s acting out because he is still trying to figure things out and learn how to handle all of his emotions and circumstances going on around him. It may not always seem like it, but it’s really difficult and frustrating to be a toddler too!
My son is a wonderful, beautiful, well-behaved boy who has moments of ridiculously frustrating and sometimes infuriating behavior. But, being his dad is an incredible joy and he is shaped as much by how he responds to his shortcomings as he is his positive qualities. He is not close to a finished product and will do plenty more things that make me shake my head in disbelief (both bad and good). So it’s my job to help and guide him along the ride.
I just wish the ride involved a few less meltdowns
This is fatherhood…