‘He dropped to the ground, red-faced. Hands in a fist, pounding the floor beneath him. Tears flowing. How confusing must all this be for him?’

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“My son wanted a popsicle for breakfast this morning.

He’s two.

You can imagine the response I got from him when I said no.

Followed by no again.

And then a very firm N-O.

He dropped to the ground, red-faced. Hands in a fist, pounding the floor beneath him. Tears flowing, a sign his big emotions were overcoming his small frame.

It’s not the first time I’ve said no to popsicles for breakfast or lunch or a snack before dinner.

But there’s been times I said yes.

A hot summer day.

A treat after a meal.

Just because I wanted to do something fun for my sweet baby-boy.

And as my two-year
-old threw the world’s most epic tantrum, I had an epiphany.

How confusing must all this be for him?

With no concept of time.

No real understanding of meal structures.

No clue about health and wellness and safety.

How confusing it must be when mommy says yes on one day and no on another.

How frustrating it must be to not understand why?

Why do I have to go to bed if I’m not feeling tired?

Why do I have to wear pants if I don’t like how they feel against my skin?

Why does mommy get to eat chips and drink pop and I don’t?

Why does my mommy play with me sometimes and mean the business others?

Why, why, why?

I mean, when you think about it, the whole tantrum thing…it really makes perfect sense.

Tantrums aren’t a sign that a child is awful, difficult, a problem. It’s none of those things. Tantrums are a sign a child doesn’t understand.

As parents and caregivers, it’s our responsibility to let our babies feel heard. To show them love. To guide them through life and teach them right from wrong, good from bad – and everything in between.

Yah, dragging your kid out of Target kicking and screaming because they want the newest Paw Patroller sucks. SUCKS. People will stare. People will judge.

But think – that two-year-old doesn’t understand money, jobs, work – survival. And they shouldn’t have to.

So, let’s work on treating our kids like humans.

Let’s hold them and love them when those angry feelings bubble to the surface.

Let’s work on our patience while they lose theirs.

Because when we think about it, our rules don’t always make sense, especially to a growing mind.

Let’s help them learn.”

Mother runs beside son who running outside while father watches in background
Courtesy Annie Lawton

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Annie Lawton of Grown Up Glamour by Anneliese Lawton. The article originally appeared here.  Submit your story here, and be sure to subscribe to our best love stories here.

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