childish tantrums, tears and hysterics
childish tantrums, tears and hysterics Oksana_Alex

Back to school: My son throws the wildest tantrums

OPINION: Any parent out there will tell you that nothing compares to watching your children do things for the first time.

First steps, first words, first haircut. It truly is amazing.

My oldest child is three (turning four), and this week he has his first official day of pre-prep.

My son seems excited, but my wife and I are not.

See what I haven't told you is that our little cherub has a tendency to be dramatic and can throw down with the best of them.

I'm not talking the odd tantrum here and there. I mean he goes off.

Fortunately he is about quality over quantity, and while his tantrums are not that frequent, they are fierce.

My wife and I are ninjas when it comes to wangling him. We can execute a mid-tantrum extraction from any shopping centre with ridiculous efficiency.

But what happens when we are not there?


No Caption
No Caption stephen wisbauer

Unlike many other kids in his class, our son has not gone through the day care system, and he has no older siblings to model his behaviour on.

Apart from the boundaries we set at home, he has never had to conform to any real structure.

Last week when he had his orientation day, our curly-haired, chubby-cheeked little man saw an opportunity to assert his displeasure at having to leave the play ground.

He did not want to go inside and articulated it in a way that could only be described as theatrical.

While all the other kids happily complied and eagerly awaited a story to be read to them, our kid was having none of it.

There were pirouettes, there was shadow boxing, and at one stage it looked like he was re-enacting a scene from Gladiator.

You know the bit where Russell Crowe is is shouting "are you not entertained?" That was our son, and it put my wife in an awkward and embarrassing situation.

She had to decide, do you do the aforementioned mid-tantrum extraction? or do you ride it out in the hope he will come good and get on board with the program?

While I am sure we are not the first to experience this, for us it is uncharted territory.

We actually don't know what we are doing and have seriously (not seriously) contemplated home school.

One journal article I read suggested that tantrums in toddlers could be a sign of mental illness.

I pretty much ruled that out straight away.

Number one, 99 per cent of the time he is a dream and two, there are no other behavioural symptoms that would indicate such a diagnosis.

Another I read said that tantrums are a sign of fatigue, hunger or insecurity. More applicable in my son's case than mental illness but still, he had just had breakfast, my wife was with him and he had slept a full eight hours.

When my wife and I spoke about it that night it got me thinking.

Who gets more embarrassed about pre school tantrums, the parents or the kid?

I decided then that we as parents have this overwhelming need to conform with the crowd and I felt like we project our own insecurities on to our kids.

The theory I am going with is sometimes our children are going to be embarrassing, and this week as school starts back I am sure my son is not going to be the only one who has a bag rack melt down.

For all the first child at school parents out there lets just look at this for what it is.

An opportunity to off load our kids on to people who get paid to deal with their balderdash.

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