Amirul wanted a balloon so much. Only god knows how tormented I was to hear his screaming, an inch close my ear. He couldn’t speak, so he just pointing to where the balloons were. To keep everything from going wrong, I had to hug the 13 kg toddler to keep his cool down. All I could do, to keep everyone from staring at me because my toddler started to annoy everyone else at Pasar Malam, was to carry him as long as I could. And then, I whispered to him that he would get the balloon with one condition.
When I was a kid, my mother used to tell me that if you wanted something you wish like a toy or a chocolate, you have to behave like a good boy. My mother keep on warning me that if you fail to behave as she told me to do so, I would get nothing. So when I become a father, I want to do the same with my toddler. Good behavior leads to good reward. Amirul, you will get nothing for free. You have to be a good boy.
I thought when told him that he had to behave to get that balloon, he would stop crying. I was wrong. His screaming shrieked into my eardrum, like a thunder spread a sharp crack into the night.
Usually these are the things that I will take, before his power of tantrum lifts me up 50 feet high above the ground:
1} Catch His Attention.
“Look Amirul, What is that? An elephant maybe.” Amirul loves elephant, and everyday he shows the picture of elephant we put on wall . When the zombie-like tantrum happens, I have to show him that there is an elephant over there although there is none. I just want to distract him.
2} Accept That Our house Will Never Get Tidy And Clean. Permanent.
I have to lower my expectation and accept that our house is mess with Amirul toys, or I will become crazy to keep the high standard of cleanliness. I can’t blame my son because at this stage his curiosity is at the top, and he needs explore as much as he can. With his toys occupied every space, now we can’t walk in the straight line to our kitchen. We have to dance.
3} Don’t fight with Amirul over small stuff
If Amirul wants to watch Garfield 2 in morning or 8 p.m where the prime news aired on TV3, then let him watch. No need to get angry with him because it’s useless.
4} Engaged the Pinch Missile.
This is my mother’s old and conventional way, and still useful until today. When I’m completely lost and have no idea how to solve the puzzle of his tantrum, I engaged the pinch on his leg. He cries out loud. After that, he becomes a good boy again.
Praise him like “you’re so good today” brings his mood to explore, play, and even listen to every word I’ve said. Praise is like an invisible fuel of energy that keeps Amirul straight on the line. Magically, Amirul’s tantrum gone after I give him hugs, kiss him on both cheeks, and praise him.
6} It’s your time to be a kid. Again.
Amirul needs a friend to play with. So I suspect that most of his tantrums are because he needs someone to accompany him. So I join him to play ball, drawing, and fishing.
8} Karma Concept.
You do good things, you get yourself good things. I learned it from my used-to-be favorite TV series, My Name is Earl
. So I’ve practiced the concept in my life, and I channel it to my son. So if he wants something, I’ll ask him to be behave like a good boy. At the end of the day, he gets what he wants.
9} Just ignore him.
You have set your mind that there will be endless screaming for 30 to 60 minutes when you decide to ignore every request. Just say NO! and ignore him. At first, I was losing hope on this long-lasting ignoring game with Amirul. Eventually, I got immune to his horror screaming. And now when I say NO, he understands that he will not get anything even when he delivers the wildest whining on me.
Pasar Malam was getting crowded with people. So I was begging Amirul to behave, and yet he ignored. He continued screaming at the top of his voice. At that moment, Amirul left me with no choice but to pinch him. He slowly began to cry when I’m starting to press both my index and thumb on Amirul white-porcelain skin. When cries turned into screams, I took the pinch off his leg. Automatically, he behaved.
He never got the balloon that day.