I have 2 girls. 6 & 4. So you can just imagine what our home looks like at times. Everyday, Haylee and I deal with tattling, tears, who did what to who…and so on and so forth. Sometimes tantrums – which let me tell you, this does not go well. You see we allow feelings, and our kids are allowed to be happy, sad, mad – but tantrums – NO! We are trying to teach them that they can express emotion, and have feelings, but they cannot derail all of life for their feelings. We are attempting to teach them to be healthy kids, and ultimately adults. We’re trying.
Have you ever been on the golf course, and someone hits a bad drive and immediately throws their club or hits it on the ground? I have. Life has somehow taking a nosedive because of a bad drive? Well at that moment it feels that way… but we are quick to get over it…usually. Depends on the shot I suppose. But what if a full grown adult threw them self onto the tee box, writhing and kicking – crying and screaming – wallowing that life was somehow all tied to that single shot? Honestly, that would just be funny. Break out your iPhones – its about to get on YouTube and Facebook Live.
We have all been uncomfortable @ Walmart when you are getting your essentials and there is a child on the next aisle – begging and pleading for some toy or ice-cream or something – and invariably they are not allowed it – so the tantrum begins. It starts as a whine, then a bellow and finally the falling to the linoleum floor in desperate entitlement. The parent does one of 3 things, and lets be honest…we all watch, never so enamored with toothpaste or shaving gel. The parents either walk off… discipline the child or invariably concede and agree to keep this little one silent and ‘behaved.’ We have our secret grading scale and then we assess and judge how the parent has handled this situation on an almost gymnastic ‘x out of 10.’ The rest of our shop is the play-by-play of what we would have done. So we leave with a 6.7 for them and a proposed 8.8 for ourselves.
But we get it, kids are going to throw tantrums. Why? Because they are 4. Yes, 4! There is nothing so unseemly as an adult throwing a tantrum. Church members are often the worst of offenders. We are doing something innovative – or cutting edge – or mostly just a little different at church and the tantrum begins. A pastor was asked after a long tenure in ministry what his least favorite aspect of ministry was. His response: “Burping 50 year old babies.” WOW! Adults who throw tantrums, because they are not getting what they want. I can tell you that this is true. It is like when doing pre-marital counseling and helping couples navigate the difficult waters of communication and relationship and one of the behaviors of one of them is the ‘throw things’ behavior. I always laugh and simply say “what are you 4?” They laugh and realize that it is silly at best. It’s the same with adults – some of the most immature behaviors are exhibited by those who you would think are the most mature. The tattling, the gossip, the passive aggressive rants. Stop, just STOP. We are adults – “Use your words.” It is not that hard to communicate and share.
I don’t tolerate tantrums – don’t get me wrong, I care about my kids and you, but tantrums are not going to work with me. Why? Because I have learned that when you stand up to someone in a full blown meltdown – they don’t like it. They get louder…and then they start to threaten…give ultimatums, and throw down gauntlets. It never goes well when you concede – so end it as quick as possible – usually by leaving. You being there is what fuels the tantrum – so leave. Give it no oxygen, and let it burn out. An act of caring is allowing the only person to experience the behavior to be the person exhibiting it. Healthy emotion – sure. You are allowed to have your feelings…and even express them…but stop with the tantrums. There could be no greater litmus for how we have failed to grow up than the tantrum.
It doesn’t look good on you. Stop wearing it. Listen to what we are telling the next generation and apply it…”Use your words.”