Parents share kids' tantrums on Instagram

NOT RIGHT: Parents should be supporting their children, even if their tantrums are caused by the silliest of things. Note: The above image is a newspaper stock image from a photoshoot.
NOT RIGHT: Parents should be supporting their children, even if their tantrums are caused by the silliest of things. Note: The above image is a newspaper stock image from a photoshoot. Monkey Business Images Ltd

Those moments when you accidentally break the end off the banana and your child has a meltdown and doesn't want it, because it is broken.

When they ask for Weetbix but when you give it to them they chuck a wobbly because now they want toast.

Or when the water is not cold, or the cup is the wrong colour, or they want a different bowl, or they don't like their clothes for a thousand different trivial reasons.

Tantrums and toddlers go hand in hand. And no matter what you do, they will always find something completely ridiculous to have a problem with.

Sometimes you want to tear your hair out, sometimes you roll your eyes and sometimes you laugh at them behind their back, at least I do.

One thing I have never contemplated doing is taking a photo and positing it to social media, but other parents are.

A public Instagram account called a**holeparents started last week and encourages parents to take photos of their kids' meltdowns and post them to the account.

I have to be honest and say I had a little giggle about the posts, until the reality of the photos set in and I felt disgusted that parents could be so cruel to their children.

If you looked at the photos, without the captions, without knowing the premise of the account, all you would see were pics of kids that looked in pain, crying, upset.

I don't know about you, but when my kids cry and are upset, I never stop to take a photo first.

Reading in the abstract about the crazy things that sets kids off is amusing because, as I said, we have all been there.

I love reading about toddler tantrums so I know everyone else's children are just as crazy as mine.

Sharing exasperated sighs and funny tales with family and friends is completely natural and a good way to let some of the stress go that comes with demanding and frustrating toddlers.

But I think sharing pictures of this with the world is just taking it a bit too far and is actually quite cruel.

What toddlers are experiencing is real to them and also completely natural.

Michael Potegal is a paediatric neuropsychologist at the University of Minnesota, in Minneapolis, and specialises in studying tantrums and how and why young children have them.

He has said their outbursts are as normal a biological response to anger and frustration as a yawn is to fatigue.

So normal, in fact, that you can make a science out of the progression of a tantrum and predict one down to the second and that kids from about 18 months to 4 years are simply hardwired to misbehave.

One day recently, I forgot myself and my role as nurturing, caring mother, and I laughed at Master H, 3, during a minor meltdown over something trivial. His face just looked funny and despite myself I laughed at him.

But it was quickly wiped away when I saw the look on his face at my reaction. However trivial to me, it was real to him. And having someone laugh at you when you are upset is not a nice feeling.

So I couldn't help but wonder how the children portrayed in this instagram account may have felt about their parents taking photos of their tantrums.

What will happen when they are older and find these photos online? Will they see the funny side? Or will they be upset, again, that their parents exposed their most vulnerable moments to the world for humour?

Our job as parents is to support and prop up our kids and to give them confidence. If you cannot rely on your family to comfort you when you are feeling down, no matter how real or stupid the reason is, then that is not much of a family in my books.

Just as you would never (or should never) call your child names, or belittle them, you should not make fun of them publicly for things that are normal to them and that they really can't control.

Shame on these parents. They may be using the hashtag a**hole parents as tongue-in-cheek, but I just think "if the shoe fits..."

Topics:  instagram kids mothers

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