Monday, April 03, 2006


A. does lots of things that I love…but I think the thing I love the most is that when he’s angry with me or I’m angry with him, enough that he’s about to lose it, his eyes tear up and he holds out his arms for a hug.

“Mama, I need you!”

I love that he trusts me enough to know that of course I’ll hug him. Of course he can come to me for comfort, even if one of us is angry. I love that he has that basic trust in my love for him.

One of my friends complained once that her toddler got clingy during or after a tantrum. She didn’t want to give in to his requests for affection because she felt it was like rewarding him for bad behavior.

I see it so differently. Toddlers have tantrums because they can’t tolerate frustration. It’s our job to teach them to self-comfort, but to do that, they have to be comforted by us. I don’t give him whatever he’s having the tantrum about, so it’s not like tantrums work to get him what he wants. But I do comfort him because it’s really hard to be a toddler. I want him to eventually learn to internalize my comforting and do it for himself.  

Maybe I’m wrong, and maybe I’ll feel differently when Ben gets to that stage, but for now, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.


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