Is it okay to make fun of your toddler or young child while he or she is having a tantrum?
by Lisa Fogarty
There are lots of things we can do as parents to help our children get through those really awful, irrational tantrums they have about ten times each day. We can try to ignore them so that our kids won't associate attention with their behavior. We can distract them, enact a time-out rule, or even teach them how to calm themselves down. What should we probably not do? Laugh at them, ridicule them, and teach his or her siblings to do the same. Which is more or less what this dad did on video for kicks.
Admittedly, when I first viewed this video and heard the little girl's pleading voice in the background, I thought he was making fun of his toddler and I got super pissed off. Then I learned that his daughter is actually six and, according to mom, had been having a tantrum for one hour. Dad was just trying to lighten the mood, she says. Okay, I get it. A six-year-old may be able to take this kind of humor and maybe -- maybe -- it will even shut her down and teach her to laugh at herself.
Only that doesn't seem to be what's happening, judging by the video. The girl just keeps screaming louder and louder and her brother appears to be having a good time laughing along with dad and mom. Right. Good luck teaching your son to not tease your daughter after you've set this example, dad!
I'm the mom of a toddler and not a six-year-old so yeah, I'm still uptight when it comes to things like this. I'm trying to show my daughter how to take three deep breaths and count to ten when she gets upset -- and it's actually working. I can't imagine laughing at her in front of her (whatever you do in the privacy of your bedroom is another matter) while she's experiencing what feels like a real problem that has given her real anxiety.
Maybe I'll feel differently after four more years of tantrums, and maybe different tactics just work for different kids and we shouldn't judge this dad too harshly. Hey, this family might even be on to something since some of us seem to talk to her our children like they are 55-year-old professors who understand all logic instead of like children who understand..well, not much logic at all.
That said, I still can't watch this video without cringing. I'm not on board with ridicule..yet.
Do you think it's okay to make fun of your toddler or young child while he or she is having a tantrum?