Tales from the Naughty Corner
This time Daddy McCann has written an update about life with Fizz. We hope you enjoy reading about Fizz from a dads view….
It was Halloween recently, which doesn’t normally trouble me beyond an urge to play ‘The Monster Mash’ and wheel out various scary films – but this year was different for some reason. It was around this time that strange forces seemed to take over my delightful little daughter, aged little more than 22 months. Her behaviour started to become… odd … aggressive… unstoppable.
Now I’m not suggesting we have a case of demonic possession on our hands here, but the effects are certainly horrific and getting seemingly worse by the day. With each approaching nap or bedtime (although these are by no means the only occasions on which it happens) we suddenly have sustained screaming, running at high speed through the flat, things thrown, people hit, wriggle fits whenever attempts are made to change nappies / clothes etc, total refusal to listen or acknowledge any thing you say or do, crazy daredevil behaviour and angry fits of crying every time she is refused something – anything – that she has taken it in her mind to desire. Here’s a sample conversation:
“I want cheese”
“But honey we haven’t got any cheese left. You just ate the last of it. Well, you ate what you didn’t try to cram into dolly’s mouth”
“I want cheese”
“I’m really sorry – there isn’t any left. The shops aren’t even open now. How about some fruit? Or yoghurt? No? Sweetie there isn’t any cheese”
“MaaahhhhhwwwaaahhhhhHHHH HAAAARRRRGGGGHHHH! HAAAARRRRRRRRGGGGGGHHHHH! WAAAAAAAANNNNT CHEEEEEEE-HHEEEEEEE-HEEEEEEESSE ARRRRRRRHHHHH” *red face and stamping ensues, cat runs in terror, everyone reaches for ear protection*
So here they are then, the ‘Terrible Twos’. Much talked about and slightly feared, but only truly understood by experiencing them. Not only difficult to witness, but a true test of character and inner strength – you can read up on what you should do but until you find yourself in the role of the ‘responsible adult ’ dealing with the crazy, erratic behaviour, you’ve honestly no way of telling how you’ll respond. You’ll probably also find your partner has been taken a little by surprise too and both of you will try and deal with things in different ways – sometimes clashing and taking frustrations out on each other.
Because – make no mistake – no matter how much you tell yourself that you must ‘stay calm’ and set the right example to your child, you will end up feeling frustrated, angry and helpless at times. It feels like there’s really not much you can do – we, like many, do not believe in smacking or physically punishing our daughter – and one of the first things you learn in these situations is that if you raise your voice, it makes it ten times more fun for the child. So what do you do?
In our experience, distraction can be a powerful tool, but she’s growing more determined and focused by the day. The main advice that keeps popping up is to talk calmly to her explaining why she needs to stop what she’s doing – only problem is it doesn’t work so well on our girl, she just listens and goes straight back to what she was doing. We’ve found ourselves relying to some degree on ‘the naughty corner’ when things get particularly bad, which she does actually respond to (partly we think due to a similar method used at her nursery). There’s always plenty of advice you’ll find online… Honestly it is mostly good and DOES make sense. However you’ll probably find you need to re-read it all again though while you’re actually in the thick of it – and take from it only what is relevant to you – each child is different after all.
The strange thing is – the little girl we used to know hasn’t vanished completely. In fact, she’s still there most of the time – growing smarter, doing cuter things and becoming more and more thoughtful and loving all the time. She even understands that her own behaviour is sometimes unacceptable, and why her parents respond to it as they do – last night she actually took her toy doll and sat it down in the ‘naughty corner’ – telling it off before picking it up and giving it a hug to show it it’s forgiven and still loved. It was strangely cute and heart-breaking at the same time to watch.
This is the best thing to try and remember when behaviour is at its worst – just keep thinking “this will pass”, and try not to dwell on the tantrums and naughtiness while it isn’t actually happening – take in all the good times and make the most of a time in their life that is speeding by. And whatever you do, don’t dwell on the other ‘difficult phases’ that lie ahead – you’ve not got those teen years to deal with yet, after all…..