Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Teen Temper Tantrums: It's just noise!

Remember the terrible twos and threes, and maybe even fours. You're in a crowded supermarket, your then toddler has asked for the 10 millionth time for candy, and you have said for the 10 millionth time NO.  And then you hear your toddler take a deep breath, and with all their little might, they explode with screams, kicks, fall down on the floor, and start flailing like a maniac. You, feeling like every pair of supermarket eyes are upon you, are seized with humiliation. Oh why oh why did you have to do this now!!! So you buy the candy, or you leave your cart of items, even though that means leaving your laundry detergent meant for your gathering storm of dirty clothes, tonights dinner, lunch and snack items for tomorrow's meals, you pick up your kid and you are out of there!!!!!

Your toddler outgrows their tantrums, and for a while life is peaceful-ish. Then come the terrible teens!!! Full blown tantrums return. It's not about candy now!!! It's about cellphones, and apps, and money for clothes, and absolutely "have to have" whatever. It's about curfews, and sleepovers, and cars and school, and attitude and friends, and time and family and well, just about everything. Many parents I work with are so afraid of the "tantrum" that they cave worried that their teen will get out of control, and do....something! But here's the thing. It's just noise, It's the same noise they bellowed at two. It's actually the same issue...It's all about me!!! Egocentric thinking was the culprit then, and it is the culprit now. At two their little brain couldn't understand that their perspective was not the only one at play. I want what I want when I want it!!!! And...wait for it.... neither does your teen. That emotional brain fires up faster than you can say NO. And when the world stops revolving around their needs and desires...fireworks!

Your job is to develop a tolerance for noise. There it is, plain and simple. Say what you need to say, and then stop talking. Your teen's anger and frustration will burn itself out, as long as you don't give it fuel!  The article below is about an amazing dad who let his toddler burn herself out, in public, on display, for an attentive supermarket audience. His message is universal for parents of kids of all ages.  Truthfully, everybody is in the same boat, whether with a toddler or a teen. We can be a community of understanding.

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