The Dreaded ‘T’ Word

Written By

Chitra Doraiswami

The Dreaded ‘T’ Word Loading

No, I don’t mean T Rex. He is nothing compared to this and he isn’t around, is he? So, we needn’t drag him into our life. I mean ‘Tantrum’…there, I said it. The most dreaded word in any mom’s vocabulary.

I kid you not. There are few things more humiliating than having your little angel have a hissy-fit in a crowded spot. Immediately, the crowd divides itself in two – those who think you should give the brat a tight smack and those who think you need a tight smack. Anyway, they all agree the fault is YOURS!

A proper tantrum must include all these elements – a roll on the ground, screaming, drumming of heels and a crying jag just before the roll. No, not by you, your kid. Never, ever whack the little darling. At once, everybody will stop what they are doing and give you shocked, horrified looks. And the child will get louder and more obstreperous (bet you didn’t think I know such words!) and even those uninvolved till now will have unflattering things to say, you guessed it, about you.

Tried and Tested Methods

Let me tell you a little story. You cull your wisdom from that. A cute girl, all of three, had a proper tantrum at the end of the school day. The ‘auntie’ who gave her a chocolate every day, didn’t have one to give her then. She let out a loud scream, attracting the attention of all in the vicinity and then, threw herself enthusiastically into a classic tantrum mode. The mother was ineffectually begging her to stop but the little Madam was busy imitating a sundial on drugs and was doing 45 RPMs on the ground.

Her class teacher came to the fore and called out her name loudly enough to be heard above the din. The child opened her eyes and for a moment shut her caterwauling. The teacher told her in very normal tones, ‘What do you think you are doing? Stop it at once. Get up, go wash your face.’ It worked. She got up and went off to wash the little red mug! So, being firm works.

My nephew, an erudite Assistant Professor of Physics now, was a mere two year old ‘gundappa’ (round fellow!); when this happened. He was throwing an elaborate temper tantrum and my sister, a poor gentle soul, was pleading with him. I put my nose an inch away from his and threatened in a low menacing voice, ‘If you don’t stop it NOW you will truly, TRULY regret it!’ The ominousness of the threat shocked him into silence. He stopped his screeching. Later, he told everyone who would listen (between sobs) his aunty was a ‘bad girl’!

The third method needs two people or more, depending on the location. My friends’ daughter does this very well. She will stand there and watch him for a moment when the tiny fellow rolls around. Then, she will call out his name loudly enough to get his attention and then tells him, ‘Suit yourself. I am going. Hope you know how to get back home!’ And she marches off. The kid looks around, cannot spot the Dad lurking in the background and trots off behind the mom, sobbing but moving! In case it is a crowded mall, you may need the odd relative or friend to keep an eye on the brat apart from Dad.

All the approaches above are essentially being firm with the child, so she knows that ‘No’ means ‘No’ and not “If I make a big enough scene, the grown-up will waver soon into a ‘Maybe’”. If you are a particularly saintly character, you could also try reasoning with the child in a calm, matter-of-fact manner; where you explain to your child why this unseemly exhibition is not a good idea, primarily for HER. She is a big girl, so she should behave like one, her friends are watching, her half hour of ‘Chhota Bheem’ worship will be withdrawn in 5…4…3…2…

Well, here you have it. This is all the gyan I have!

Cheers.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Chitra Doraiswami, 69, is from Bangalore. She has written for many publications such as the Deccan Herald, The Times, Femina, Eve’s Weekly, etc. Chitra has many an interesting tale to tell including the one about finishing her Masters along with her son; sadly “only” getting a First Class, where her son got a rank. She joined CMR, NPS as Headmistress two decades ago and is now known as the Associate Principal of the institution. She also has a sixteen year old grandson. Chitra is an avid dancer, reader and drama-enthusiast. She's traveled extensively with her husband who was in the IAF. She taught wherever they were posted. Chitra enjoys teaching people innovative ways of helping children learn, but she is definitely not the prototypical fluffy grandma!

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