As parents, you learn to become quick studies when your kids are little. One of the biggest beasts you’ll have to face is The Tantrum. It can take over your tot’s pure being, turning your sweet little pumpkin into Godzilla.
There’s just no escaping it. When in a public place, The Tantrum is so much fun. You can either morph into a psychologist on the fly or wing it, trying to keep your own composure. What you want to try to avoid however, is having your own meltdown. Don’t cry, shout, or argue.
Justin Baldoni took a page from his own father’s book to handle his daughter’s tantrum, and it turned out to be an enlightening experience for him. Justin, an actor on the CW network’s popular hit show Jane the Virgin, is the father of two-year-old Maiya. Two years old— that fun age that every parent looks forward to and is true to its reputation.
While out at a Whole Foods market with his pregnant wife, daughter, and dad, Justin had to go into tantrum-handler mode. His wife snapped a pic of him and his dad standing over Maiya, who was sprawled out face down on the floor. Cute, right? (Floor sprawls are a common tactic of The Tantrum). Instead of getting wound up or engaging with her, the two stood there quietly and looked at her.
Justin posted the photo on Instagram and Facebook, sharing that it’s one of his favorite with his father:
“Two men, standing together in silence, forever bonded by an unconditional love for both each other and this brand new, raw and pure soul who we would both go to the ends of the earth for. I can only imagine how many times I did this when I was her age. . .”
He goes on to discuss how throughout his childhood, his father showed him how to “be comfortable with the uncomfortable”, and “not to parent based on what anyone else thinks.” Justin’s dad allowed him to express his emotions regardless of where they were. He wasn’t punished or yelled at for it, and his father wasn’t embarrassed.
That taught him to understand how children are still learning the ropes about their emotions, and to have compassion and patience when meltdowns happen. Justin wants his own daughter to learn how to feel without repercussions. He also encourages the rest of us to tap into our emotions in the same way:
“Let’s not be embarrassed for our children. It doesn’t reflect on you. In fact.. we should probably be a little more kind and patient with ourselves too. If we got out everything we were feeling and allowed ourselves to throw tantrums and cry when we felt the need to then maybe we’d could also let ourselves feel more joy and happiness.”
Parents have different methods for facing The Tantrum – The Countdown, The Ignore, The Yell, The Bribe – and experts chime in on how to handle public meltdowns all the time. One piece of advice they all have in common is to keep calm. Your child will eventually take a cue from your energy.
Justin gained parenting wisdom from his own dad, but also from his daughter. Through both of them, he learned to accept that it’s all part of growing up and there’s no reason to feel ashamed. With one toddler and another baby on the way, he’s got a few more years of living with The Tantrum and definitely knows how to best it.
How have you handled The Tantrum in public? Do you always use the same technique?