The “terrible twos” as they are known are OK.
By that I don’t mean they are enjoyable – nobody likes having to deal with a tantrumming youngster – but they are acceptable because (and do correct me if I’m wrong) they are age appropriate. They are part of the development process that we all (at some point in our lives) have to go through, where we learn how to handle disappointment and frustration and to hear the “no” word without throwing our dummies out of the pram.
Tantrums are part of a learning curve.
Tom, my little ‘un, has them. Not many. Not daily. But a couple of times a week and more if he’s feeling grotty. We can all sympathize with that surely?
The nursery who look after him during the day – and it’s a great nursery, really wonderful in so many ways – have notified us that they are assigning the equivalent of a case worker to Tom to try and get his tantrums sorted out. Because apparently they feel it is not normal for him to be tantrumming. The intimations are that none of the other kids are doing it or have ever done it in the entire history of the nursery.
Rubbish is my answer to that.
Tom is only 2. He’ll be 3 in October. Like all kids he has issues and personal foibles. For me his tantrums aren’t a problem. If he throws one at home he gets put into the kitchen and left alone. I guarantee he’ll cry for 10 minutes, come and seek comfort (which he is given) and then is instantly calm and accepts the decision that caused the tantrum in the first place. All done and dusted. Sorted. Best of all the tantrums are getting shorter. He’s learning.
For the nursery to suggest that Tom having a tantrum in the first place is somehow not normal just enrages me. It is not normal for a 30 year old to have a tantrum! For a 2 year old it is, believe me, normal. Terrible Twos, right? It’s quite common. It’s part of the developmental yadda yadda yadda. Already said that.
I sometimes think that Tom’s nursery is living in some kind of parallel universe that is loosely based around the novels of Enid Blyton. A world where the kids are all polite, well spoken, silent unless spoken to and outwardly inquisitive but only in an adult and responsible manner. In this strangely quiet land the kids don’t argue or have tantrums. They respectfully enquire if their fellow citizens wouldn’t mind them having their own way for once but only if it won’t cause too much consternation or disapprobation among their fellow peers. All kids are born with an innate ability to manage their anger and emotions in such a way that counsellors all over this land are rendered surplus to requirements. Crime is at an all time low but then so is creativity and individuality and the global birth rate.
What an awfully sterile place it must be.
To conclude then, do we here in the west try and impose an inaccurate and unnatural and horribly rose-tinted view of childhood onto the very people who are living it – our children? Do we let the pursuit of some nice, idyllic, blanket wrapped ideal impose a framework on our kids which is not only a downright lie but also stifling and unfair and, worst of all, denying them the right to be normal, feeling, reacting human beings?
Or am I just spitting the dummy out of the pram?