formidable fours

I’m convinced that no parent really escapes the terrible twos. This stage is just delayed for some. Little Dude, in particular. I remember hearing a child tantruming in a store aisle and breathing a sigh of relief that MY kids were not one of those … the difficult ones. I felt proud of my boys and I patted myself on the back for helping shape them.

I don’t feel so smug anymore.

I’m not sure what triggered it. The transformation seemed to happen overnight. Sure, he’s had tantrums before but never like this. He’s defiant, angry, and at times hurtful. Yes, hurtful … and this is what saddens me most. I feel that I’m to blame. When I hear the roughness in his voice and his words, I sometimes recognize myself. My frustration with him is feeding his frustration with … with everything. His emotions seem to swallow him up quickly. I remember having more time to react before he completely lost control in the past. I remember much fewer tantrums.

The last couple of days, I’ve been making a better effort to “catch him being good” … complimenting desirable behaviour and ignoring non-lifethreatening, undesirable acts. I bought special stickers that I knew he’d love and have been handing out them out generously. This has helped with lessening the frequency of tantrums but the intensity, when it does happen, remains the same.

I know it’s just a phase. He’s asserting his independence. Experimenting with how far he can push me. I need to be patient. I need to give him some room to grow. Wait and see. LittleR Dude will go through the same thing one day. This is just a primer for the teenage years.

I know all this. We’re making progress already. It doesn’t make the really awful tantrums any easier to take. And, I can’t help feeling that I have somehow failed when he gets into such a state.

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