Toddler Tantrums – Lessons Learnt

I was recently struck by something as I was disciplining my son. I asked Jonas to do something, he didn’t want to and refused. I asked him again, he refused again, and then what followed was a five-minute tantrum, kicking and screaming on the floor. I have learnt with my boy there is little point trying to reason with him whilst he is in the middle of a full-blown tantrum, so I give him space to get it out his system and then we talk. On this occasion he got particularly upset. When he eventually picked himself off the floor and came to me, I took him in my arms, giving him a big cuddle, saying ‘shhhh’ and kissing him. I did this for a couple of minutes, rocking him in my arms until he stopped crying completely and then I started talking to him about what had just happened.

As I always tell him, whatever I asked him to do, he still has to do after his tantrum and that it is not a way of avoiding it. As I kissed him and gave him a big cuddle I was reminded of this verse:

He will quiet you with His love.
Zephaniah 3:17

This was exactly what I was trying to achieve with my son. I was trying to quiet him with my love. I was trying to calm him so that he would listen to what I had asked him to do initially. I wasn’t shouting at him, I wasn’t loudly demanding, I was quietening him in love, so that he would understand the thing I am asking; I am asking because I love him.

As I thought about this I realised something. It is very hard for my son to hear what I’m saying when he is kicking and screaming on the floor, but when he lets me cuddle him and love him, I can talk to him, and he is able to hear. I wonder what things we may be kicking and screaming about. What things we may have heard our Father God ask us to do and yet we are resisting. I wonder whether if we would just let him ‘quiet us with his love’ and stop resisting his instruction, if we would be more likely to respond?

The more I thought about this, the more I felt challenged. If I want to quiet my son with my love, I can’t do it from across the room. I need to be close to him, to cuddle him and tell him it’s going to be ok, and remind him why I have asked him to do a particular thing. It’s the same with God. Maybe he has asked us to do something. Maybe we are resisting, or flat-out refusing. But will we allow him to quiet us with his love. Because in order to do this we need to be close to Him. We need to spend time with Him.

Quietened In Love
Quietened In Love

After my son had done the thing I had asked him to do I lifted him in my arms and gave him a big cuddle. I then found myself saying these words to him which spoke to me about God’s heart for me ‘Jonas, when Mummy and Daddy ask you to do something, you need to listen. Because we ask you to do things because we love you, and because these are things that are good for you, so you need to listen and trust us, because we love you’. Wow, it challenged me massively the moment I said it. Because how much more does God love me. How much more does He ask me to do things because He loves me, and it’s for my good. So will I trust him? Because love trusts!

Are there things God has asked of you? Maybe you don’t understand them. Maybe you don’t like them. But rather than resisting, or kicking and screaming like my little man, will you spend time with your Father and let him quiet you with His love and remind you of His love. And will you trust Him, because one thing we can be sure of, if he asks us to do something, it’s because it is good!

And although my son may not always fully understand why I have asked him to do something, he may not understand why I tell him to stop at the edge of a curb, he may not understand why I tell him not to run in front of the swings at a park, he may not fully appreciate why I tell him to not throw his food on the floor, but when I cuddle him, when I love him, I think it reminds him of our relationship, so that he is able to trust me, until he one day grows up and sees why I have asked him these things.

Although you may not understand what God’s asked of you, you may not see how it could possibly work, you may not be able to understand everything going on around you, but as you let him quiet you in love and remind you of His heart for you, it will enable you to get in the position again of being able to fully trust Him. So you can then do what he has asked, until the day you fully see and understand why he would have instructed you this, because He loves you, and because it is good!

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