News flash: Tantrums are all the rage for four-year-olds.
I hear you out there – “Tantrums are for toddlers!” But no, four is the new two. Or as Felix would put it, no, No, No, NO, NO!
Felix becomes frustrated because he wants to put his sandals on, but can’t do so without help. Next thing you know, the sandal is flying across the room and our trip to the grocery store is off. “I’ll never put my shoes on again,” he’ll whine, in full diva mode. Later, he has a tantrum because he’d like to help cook dinner, but I can’t find any age-appropriate tasks for him to do. Having to submit to getting washed in the tub instead of cleaning himself off in the shower? Tantrum. There’s a method to this madness. Whenever Felix wants to be a “big boy” and do grownup stuff but is unable or un-allowed, he melts down.
Hey, I feel his pain. When I want something and am unable to obtain it, I feel frustrated. And I also get angry when I’m told no. It stinks not being all-powerful and infallible. One day, Felix will internalize these emotions instead of acting them out in horrible, awful ways. A toddler rolling and kicking on the floor is one thing. A four year old doing the same? On an almost daily basis he comes close to sending himself to the hospital and/or breaking the house.
We’ve found a few books helpful in talking with Felix about these emotions – sometimes. Sometimes he just doesn’t want to talk about his interior life. “Do you ever feel mad like this?” I’ll say, as we read a book about anger.
“That’s not true. You get angry sometimes.”
“No, I don’t.”
“It sounds like you’re getting angry right now.”
“NO, I’M NOT!”
Oy. Sometimes there’s no getting through to a little kid, no matter what you do. But these books are a good place to start. Do you have others to suggest? Leave them in the comments section!