If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them!
Back in my daughter’s “toddler” days, I used to find myself confronted with the “oh, so regular” tantrums that parents of toddler typically face. Usually triggered by mentioning the word “no,” the inevitable outburst would begin, almost on cue.
As a parent, I tried various ideas to fend off my toddler’s tirades…but to no avail. Suddenly, I remembered something that I learned at work one day (I used to work at a psychiatric facility for children and often dealt with difficult behaviors…though it’s definitely different when it’s your own child).
Anyway, I was once taught by an insightful co-worker to embrace the “if you can’t beat them, join them” mentality. I once saw her “join” a child as he was throwing a tantrum and trying to destroy a toy that he had. She literally asked him if he wanted help breaking the toy.
I decided to try and apply the idea to my situation. After two or three unsuccessful attempt to try to end my daughter’s tantrum, I decided to just join in. I got on the floor and mimicked the very tantrum that she herself was engaged in, flailing and screaming and all!
To my surprise, she stopped instantly and yelled, “Stop it!”
I said to her, “You seem to be having a lot of fun and I don’t want to miss out.” Then I continued.
She screamed “Stop it!” again.
I then told her that I’d make her a deal. I’d stop it if she’d stop.
End of tantrum! It worked! And it worked time after time until the tantrums basically ceased to exist. I never expected the old adage of “If you can’t bet them join them” to be applied in this manner but it certainly proved successful.
Next time you’re faced with a “tantrumming” toddler…give it a shot…it just might work.