By the time they have reached primary school age, many of our students have become veterans in the art of the tantrum. Perhaps the problem is that some parents see their kids’ tantrums as a social media sport rather than a habit worth breaking:
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.
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