Yesterday I cut the "wrong end of the freezie," which started the twenty minute explosion of my three-year-old. The screen door was open, and I'm sure our neighbours had one hand on the phone to call the police to report a child-stabbing. One thing my little three-year-old can do amazingly well is shriek until he loses his voice.
When this scene happened with my oldest son two years ago, I joined him shrieking, "Stop it! Stop yelling! AHHH! Time out!" On one particularly good explosive tantrum, I actually kicked a hole in the wall—on purpose—and I couldn't stop myself. Yup, I'm a psychotherapist that knows anger management!
Yesterday, though, I calmly smiled, walked over to my son who was turning pinky-purple, and said, "It's your job to calm down. If you want help, I'll be over there." Walking purposefully to the sofa, I scooped up my older son and played with him there. The yelling escalated, so I looked at my younger son, pointed at my ears, made an "OW!" face, and took my older son into the nearby bathroom, closing the door.
Now, I should say that my kids know that it is their job to calm down, and I'll remove myself from the room if my head starts ringing from the noise. As expected, my youngest boy stood outside shrieking, BUT then he suddenly stopped. The moment it was quiet, I asked, "You all calm now? Can I come out?" His little voice quivered, "Yeah." Face full of snot, he reached his shaking arms out for me as we left the bathroom.
I'd have to say that the five most important things I did to get from raging-freaking-out-mommy to keeping-it-cool-mommy were:
So, the calm-mom formula working for me is:
Tools + Sex + Fun + Rest = less freaking out for all of us!