Temper Tantrums, Bow Ties, and Twinkle Toes
Do you know about Twinkle Toes? They are very "fancy" shoes by Sketchers. They are bright, obnoxious, light up, and don't match anything, and Mallory loves them more than anything. I hate them, as much as she loves them, which makes for some pretty interesting mornings in our house when she wants to wear them for like...school picture day. But, i've learned to let go the trauma of the twinkle toes...
Twinkle Toes have not been my first rodeo with letting kids be who they are. I learned this with a trial by fire with Zachary. He is his very own person, and could care less what anyone thinks. I admire that about him, but it can be very stressful when we are unable to find his cowboy boots before the grocery store run. When he was four he decided he wanted a bow tie. He wore it everywhere. My mom got it for him and it was his favorite thing in the world. Tshirts, button down shirts, sports jerseys, and superman pajamas, they all were all topped off with a black bow tie. Did I love him wearing a bow tie everywhere? Not really, but was it hurting anyone? was it a danger to him? to others? no and no.
When people find out I test and teach preschoolers for a living, they always want my advice on topics ranging from langauge ability to motor skills; but, the most frequent question I am asked is "What should I do with these temper tantrums!" Daycare workers, parents, babysitters, they all ask about tantrums.
Tantrums mostly (notice I did not say always) but mostly stem from frustration. A frustration with being in control, a frustration with a lack of communication, a frustration with being unable to do something or being stopped from doing something. This is where the "Bow Tie" and "Twinkle Toes" come in...ask yourself how much this matters. Is it causing harm? Will it cause harm to others? Will it hurt my child? Is it breaking a rule?
Would I have allowed Zachary to wear a bow tie everyday to school of they had a strict "no bow ties!" rule? Absolutely not! Children have to be taught to obey the rules. That's just part of learning to be a productive member of our society. Would I have allow mallory to wear her twinkle toes if her teacher said it caused a distraction in the classroom? Nope. Children must learn to follow classroom rules. That is part of learning to be a good student. Should I be concerned that the greeter at Wal Mart will look at me funny? No. That other adults will think i'm a bad mom? No. Those things, really don't matter.
Consider for a minute that you have behavior baskets. Ill give you three. In your "A" basket you are going to put all the things that matter the most for the health and safety of your child. In this basket are the rules that they HAVE TO follow all the time. Car seats, holding hands in parking lots, no wandering off, no talking to strangers, no riding their bike off your street. These are the things they will do, all the time, no questions asked. In basket "B" you will put those things that are important to you, but that your kids may or may not follow all the time. I would like for my kids not to drink Diet Coke at dinner, but sometimes its okay. I would like for them to brush their teeth everynight but we have been known to fall asleep. I would like for them not to eat chocolate cupcakes all day at Susu and Big's house, but sometimes that happens. In other words, it's the things you may talk about, you may discuss, but really, you can let it go some of the time. But to me, the "C" basket is what is most important. These are the things that are going out with the trash. This is where the Twinkle Toes, Bow Ties, and other things that really don't matter go. John wants to wear his superman pajamas to the grocery store? C Basket. No hairbow today? C basket. Your an Ole Miss Rebel but MarySue wants to wear her black and gold socks to school? C Basket. These are the things, that you if learn to let go of, may just cut down on those terrible temper tantrums.
I will be the first to tell you that the baskets may not be a fix for everyone. But, what I can tell you, is that when I started learning to let my kids be who they are, and actually put stuff in the "C" basket, I became a much better mom. I became a much calmer mom. I didn't feel like I was fussing all the time at my kids. I was actually learning to let things go a little, and you know what they say...The more you let go, the lighter your load. And just to make you feel better, Zach just came in my room wearing blue jeans, purple pool shoes, a bright blue shirt, and a black and gold USM hat for our run to the grocery store... C Basket Stacey....C Basket....
What can you put in your family's "C" basket?