Anneliese Lawton, a mom and blogger, is fully aware that her 2-year-old son is chock-full of unreasonable demands. But when her son had an epic meltdown because he couldn't have a Popsicle for breakfast, she opted to look at the situation from his point of view. She detailed her experience in a Facebook post and made several eye-opening points about perspective when it comes to understanding our toddlers.
"My son wanted a popsicle for breakfast this morning," she wrote. "He's two. You can imagine the response I got from him when I said no. Followed by no again. And then a very firm N-O. He dropped to the ground, red-faced. Hands in a fist, pounding the floor beneath him. Tears flowing, a sign his big emotions were overcoming his small frame."
"It's not the first time I've said no to popsicles for breakfast or lunch or a snack before dinner. But there's been times I said yes," she explained. "A hot summer day. A treat after a meal. Just because I wanted to do something fun for my sweet baby boy."
But rather than simply de-escalating her son's behavior, she stepped into his shoes.
"Tantrums aren't a sign that a child is awful, difficult, a problem. It's none of those things. Tantrums are a sign a child doesn't understand."
"As my 2-year-old threw the world's most epic tantrum, I had an epiphany," she said. "How confusing must all this be for him? With no concept of time. No real understanding of meal structures. No clue about health and wellness and safety. How confusing it must be when mommy says yes on one day and no on another. How frustrating it must be to not understand why? Why do I have to go to bed if I'm not feeling tired? . . . Why does my mommy play with me sometimes and mean the business others?"
Anneliese has a point — when you look at this scenario from a 2-year-old's point of view, it's completely understandable why they might be confused.
"When you think about it, the whole tantrum thing . . . it really makes perfect sense," she wrote. "Tantrums aren't a sign that a child is awful, difficult, a problem. It's none of those things. Tantrums are a sign a child doesn't understand."
She took the time to remind other moms and dads that as parents, it's our jobs to help little ones to navigate the world.
"As parents and caregivers, it's our responsibility to let our babies feel heard. To show them love. To guide them through life and teach them right from wrong, good from bad, and everything in between," she said. "Yeah, dragging your kid out of Target kicking and screaming because they want the newest Paw Patrol [toy] sucks. SUCKS. People will stare. People will judge. But think that 2-year-old doesn't understand money, jobs, work, survival. And they shouldn't have to."
Anneliese encouraged parents to "treat kids like humans" and we love that simple suggestion. "Let's hold them and love them when those angry feelings bubble to the surface," she wrote. "Let's work on our patience while they lose theirs. Because when we think about it, our rules don't always make sense, especially to a growing mind. Let's help them learn."