Why I Let Her Cry

My almost 3.5 year old loves milk. She’s obsessed with it and probably drinks way too much throughout the day. She’s Miss Independent and helps herself to the refrigerator and grabs her prefilled sippy cup (if there is one) and is on her way. I guess she could be drinking too much juice or pop like some kids, so milk doesn’t seem all that bad in my opinion. But this morning’s tantrum wasn’t about not getting the milk she wanted, but because it wasn’t in her Little Mermaid cup. It was in the sink, needing washed from the night before. The screams and cries that came out of my precious little girl’s mouth were ones I honestly don’t think I had ever heard before. All of this, over a freaking cup.   I admit I have a really short fuse and get frustrated easier than I’d like. Maybe it’s due to being almost 9 months pregnant or the fact my dad has the worst temper (which leads me to believe my daughter inherited that lovely trait from him, and I), but I can’t take the crying and screaming and before long, I’m yelling (I hate that I yell), and I’m acting just like her. This morning, though, I somehow kept my cool. After all, she was clearly an irrational 3.5 year old, losing her shit over which cup her milk was in. I was busy organizing the junk drawer in the kitchen and she was sprawled out on the floor by my feet thrashing about. I calmy picked her up, walked into her room and sat her on the edge of her bed (where she sits in time out or when’s acting out, so she can calm down) and I walked out. She sat there screaming her face off for about ten more minutes, which might have been a personal record for her, until her cries started to subside. That was my cue to go in and have a talk with her about her bahavior.

I waited until she could breath, let alone talk, so we could have a conversation about why she was so upset about that cup. I kneeled next to her bed so I could look her in the eyes. I always try to get on her level, so she can understand me, and shows she has my full attention and I (mostly) have hers. I made sure I listened to her and told her it’s okay to get upset. We were bestfriends again within minutes and she came out of her room and asked for her milk (that was still not in her Little Mermaid Cup).  Looking back, I see that this is a life lesson for her and for me.
Just because she has tantrums like this (epecially over really small things),it doesn’t mean I should give in. It would have been a lot easier for me to just wash the cup and give it to her. The tears would have stopped and we would not have had to endure 20 minutes of screaming and crying. But what does that show her? If I scream, cry and throw a fit I’ll get what I want? No, that’s not how life works. And I learned that being calm in the situation rather than fueling the fire of a pissed off toddler. So by letting her cry rather than giving in, I’m helping us both learn important lessons. But I also learned that if you turn the radio up a little bit, it helps drown out the screams just enough for you not to lose your mind.

– Casey

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