Monday, October 28, 2013

On Adult Temper Tantrums

As a peanut, I'd wail and cry—sometimes with my face pressed under my bedroom door
to be extra sure my mom would hear me tweakin'.

In my teenage years, I'd scream into a pillow with all my angst and rage
then cry...
far away from the door
to be extra sure no one would hear me.
It's adult time now.

I like to think I've currently got a handle on my emotions, but hey. Two X chromosomes. So...

Personal spazziness aside (cough), as a former teacher, a mom and a student of life, I've witnessed plenty of temper tantrums—
and man.

They should teach a class on handling this biz.
Image Credit
Adult temper tantrums are never cute.

In my desperate valiant effort to maintain composure as a role-model to my wee ones, I've been studying up on adult trips to the zoo.

If you saw this viral YouTube video of an adult woman's temper tantrum...
you feel my concern.
Just can't let that be happening ova hey-a.
Or to people I love.
Because yeesh.
Homegirl needs some shiraz.

Then there's this clip, of a mom who lost her marbles after a let down in her local Apple store. It's short and self explanatory. Mama needs service STAT. The hand stomp slays me every time. I'm there with you, sista. Come ON!
While these current examples are undoubtedly hysterical, don't let this happen to you.
In order to grow with positive change, we've just gotta get adult freak-outs under control.

Whether you have 'em, deal with 'em, or are working on preventing adult temper tantrums, 
here's my favorite piece of advice from Wall Street Journal article This Loved One Will Explode in Five...Four

"Psychologists agree on the importance of remaining calm when the other person blows up. This isn't your tantrum. Don't withdraw completely, but limit what you say to validating the person's feelings—that you understand why he is upset—not the bad behavior.

"It's unlikely you'll have a constructive conversation when someone is in the red zone," says Susan Orenstein, a Cary, N.C., psychologist who specializes in anger management. "But I think it's important to say something like, 'I can't really listen to you when you are throwing things. But I would be glad to listen when you calm down.' "
After everyone has quieted down, explain calmly why the meltdown upset you. Ask your loved one how the tantrum made him feel and what might really have sparked the anger."
I think that's good advice, don't you?
Definitely gonna try to remember this.

I learned that it's a bad idea to engage someone who is tweaking. Make a clear statement of acknowledgement and take a step back to avoid worsening a volatile episode. 
Higher road, friends. 

Another CBS article suggests that backing off is crucial when a person is losing it. Gotta give the tantrum-er space to blow off the edge before they say or do something they'll regret. 

Let's work together, people—so that no one we love ends up tantrum-ing on YouTube, 'kay?
And if you know any good tips on handling adult freak outs, send them our way!

Here's to Zen...

P.S. Know a repeat offender blow-er up-per?
Another great resource in dealing with adult tweak times.
More on the psychology of adult temper tantrums.

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