The answer is: Yes, yes they can.
Lately I’ve become that mum, whose child lies on the floor of KFC, screaming his lungs out while he has his sixth tantrum of the day. All around me, people mutter under their breath about ‘about kids these days’ and ‘people need to learn to discipline their children’ all the while rolling their eyes and tutting. Never mind the first five tantrums have resulted in me either giving in or distracting him to get him to stop.
Here’s the thing though, I’m not embarrassed by it, a lot of people would look at Frey and feel bad and embarrassed for me but I’m not. Now don’t get me wrong I feel bad for disrupting peoples days and is the main reason why I try too majority of the time to get him calmed down as quick as possible. However when we’re at home he either goes on his naughty step for about 10 seconds as he’s still too young to understand that he has to stay there because he’s been misbehaving, or we just let him cry and yell it out. After about 5-10 minutes he’s back to his usual happy self.
Right now Frey is for the first time learning to process his emotions, everything is an extreme. When he’s happy everything is amazing and when he’s upset everything is terrible and the worst thing to happen ever and he hasn’t learnt how to process his emotions yet. So the only way for him to deal with everything is to scream and cry it out, which is exactly what we let him do. As I know (hopefully) that it’s a phase, that in time he’ll outgrow and as his communication skills develop and improve, eventually the tantrums will die down.
That’s not to say, I’m finding the tantrums easy. There are often times I find myself wanting to join my son screaming on the floor. It’s frustrating and upsetting, and even though I know that I’m doing ok as a parent, the tantrums do make you feel like you’ve messed up in some fundamental way and have no idea how or how to fix it, even though it’s only about 10% of the time he’s this way, the other 90% he’s my usual happy little boy (which I think makes it even more frustrating in a way).
The one thing that does help when he’s losing his mind over something, is when friends and family mention their own experiences with their kids going through this stage. Or when I’m out and he’s decided to start screaming and I look across and catch the eye of another parent, who gives you a reassuring nod and smile. It’s letting you know that you’re not alone and that many parents go through this stage and come out the other side, only slightly more crazy but with some pretty awesome kids.