Sunday, August 5, 2007

Scott's Holding Out on Us (or Tantrums are Rude Awakenings)

Scott can talk. I'm sure of it. I bet when we're not listening, he gives lengthy discourses to his toy cars on doll stroller trade routes through our living room.

But for now, I'm afraid talking has turned into a power struggle. When M and I encourage him to talk, he gets SO mad. We try to encourage him to ask for what he wants with a word -- any word. But as soon as he realizes that we understand him and we're holding out on him to try and get him to speak, he starts crying, swiping at the air in front of him, and turning his head and refusing to look at us. He's just SO stubborn. I think he's just not talking to spite us!

Scott's tantrums lately have cemented a theory of mine. The "experts" say toddlers start throwing tantrums because they get frustrated that they cannot communicate what they want. I think the "experts" are full of it. My experiences with both Claire and Scott have been that toddlers throw tantrums when they communicate what they want and are forced to confront the fact that sometimes they will not get it. Perhaps when they're little they are under the delusion that they could have anything they want if they could just tell us what it is. But then they get old enough to grunt and gesticulate their wants and they understand enough to know they have communicated their desire successfully. And then we refuse to give it to them! That's when the real screaming starts. We know what they want and we won't give it to them. It must be a very rude awakening. It seems that tantrums abate only when a child becomes old enough that you can reason with them about WHY they cannot have what they want. (I think at about 19?)

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