Tag Archives: development

The Keepers of the Secrets

“Mom, you’re the tooth fairy, aren’t you?” accused my nine year old daughter out of the blue one morning as she held up a tooth in her fingers. Molly had conducted a test after finding an old tooth (who knows where), put it where she had many others, but this time the tooth fairy had not taken it and left money in it’s place.

Busted. I had no come back but, “Yeah, it’s true”, which was not too hard for me to say as I thought she was clearly old enough to know the truth. She was disappointed but her disappointment was tempered by her pride in her detective skills.

Molly followed me into the bedroom as I was making my bed. From the other side of the bed, she said, “Mom, if I ask you a question will you tell me the truth?” Here it comes, I thought. Amazing. This was exactly the same setup (across a bed) and same wording of the question I asked my mother way back when.

“Yes, I will,” I said thinking again that she was definitely old enough.

When Molly was seven, having heard something at school no doubt, she asked the same of her father. “Papa, if I ask you a question, will you tell me the truth?” His answer was yes. “Is there a Santa Claus?”

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Taming Temper Tantrums
Temper tantrum

For the child, a temper tantrum feels like swirling in the middle of a tornado. It is frightening and there is no way of knowing when or if it will end.

A temper tantrum is not a parent’s favorite aspect of their child’s development. Tantrums are often accompanied by shrill screaming and physical kicking and hitting. And they result from “unreasonable” situations.

“I asked him to put his coat on, and he acted like I had pulled his arm off.”

“She wanted the blue plate that was in the dishwasher. I gave her another one and she threw it across the room.”

“All I did was tell him it was time for a bath. You’d think I told him I was leaving him for good.”

“What doesn’t he understand about ‘no’?”

Our adult reasoning brains have forgotten what it is like to be a child trapped in a body that often will not do your bidding. Impulses take over body parts, and words are emotional and dramatic and do not mean what they say. Our adult brains, together with our parenting culture, tell us that we have to stop this unpleasant and inappropriate behavior because if we don’t, it will never stop. So we isolate, punish, threaten, scream back at, shame or ignore—all of which tells the child she is being bad. Exactly the opposite direction we should take.

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