The Three T’s

Tears, Tempers and Tantrums.

Oh man, eh?

If there was one simple trick to help avoid these behaviours wouldn’t parenting be a whole lot easier?!

Sadly, there is not one trick- there isn’t even a step by step guide,there is however; luck,patience, practice, frustration,embarrassment (even if we don’t like to admit it),advoidence,understanding,acknowledgement,pretend-we-didn’t-notice and finally,acceptance.

Tears,Tempers and Tantrums (3T’s) are all part and parcel of having a little mini version of your beautiful self in this world.

My experience with my three boys regarding these 3T’s (and no,not Michael Jackson’s failed nephews band,yep I am showing my age!) was very different for each of my boys.

Ethan my eldest,has always been the best 3T-er ever.

Hands down,Ethan wins.Ethans brothers own versions of the 3Ts never really bothered us,simply because Ethan had done it all before them and at such an intense level that their 3Ts were almost laughable in comparison.

I am pretty sure I am not the only parent of a child with such complex needs like Ethan has, that when the siblings who are ‘typical’ try it, we just kinda eye roll our way through it. It is a perspective kinda thing really, isn’t it?

Ethan has never really understood waiting,’no’ and ‘stop’ – he saw these words as an invitation to throw some amazing 3T’s in the most mundane circumstances or in the most awkward of places. Looking back,I can tell you, our little man kept us on our toes.

He certainly paved the way for his brothers who,try as they may, never really had me out in sweats while they threw their very own 3T’s.

Ethan would have me panting, pleading, distracting, sweating, begging for the ground to open up while he threw a regular 3T.

We tried everything.

I mean absolutely everything,but regardless of our picture boards or our explaining about what was going to happen next, our little dude could not help but throw a 3T our way.

It took us years and years of understanding and educating ourselves and those around Ethan to accept that these 3T’s were not his fault nor were their our fault.

They were simply,our little man’s reaction to things and situations he could not understand or cope with. Mostly we had to learn about sensory overloads and what that meant for our son and try our best to help him through these overloads.

As the years went by, Ethan 3T’s calmed somewhat. Don’t misunderstand me, the boy can still throw a whopper but these days he uses them sparingly. (mainly due to Ethans syndrome progressing)

What Ethan taught us about the 3T’s during his younger days was that we were not to blame,nor was Ethan.

If there is one thing I could say to any parent out there who’s child throws plenty of 3T’s it is this : IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT.

Yes,all children know how to throw a 3T, lets face it, the only kiddies who don’t are the kiddies that ‘Mary’ has yet to have – you know ‘Mary’, we all know ‘Mary’- if I had a child they would never do that or that and if they did by god they’d never do it again! BULLS&IT ‘Mary’.

There is something however, slightly more intense about the child throwing a 3T for no apparent reason, the child who cannot regulate themselves as well as other children, that is the child that draws an audience of ‘Marys’ or ‘Know -it -all Noras’.

Those parents who deal with this are my kin, you are my people. You are my heroes and you should all know that you are amazingly capable even when you feel like you aren’t.

This is so frigging hard to deal with especially in public. On one hand you are trying your level best to help regulate your child while an audience of (probably ‘Marys’& Noras) gather to watch you, all while tutting and judging you.

It is such a horrible feeling.

It forces us to get angry. We feel like we have to explain our child’s behaviours to complete and utter staring strangers. This makes our faces go redder,our skin wetter while our mouths seem to suddenly become dry. It takes us away from our child, even for a split second, and that brings guilt to the forefront.It’s a vicious cycle and that is just us!

Our child who is currently dealing with one hell of a sensory overload that they feel like their world is spinning rapidly out of control is having such an intense meltdown that all they need right there and then is a safe place not a parent or carer who feels like they are being harshly judged.

There are no tricks or tips to stop this from happening to a child who has sensory issues,autism, social anxiety…

There are only tools to help both of you understand the triggers,predict the behaviour, manage the predicted behaviour and wing it. That’s the truth. Nearly, if not all, parents we see are indeed winging it- even us, the experts in our children who have extra needs.

All we can do is be patient,be present and remain calm; which is so much easier to say than actually do;but in time and with plenty of experience you may very well find yourself calmly helping your child and not even noticing the ‘Marys’ or ‘Noras’.

Of course once it’s all over and the ‘Marys’ are slowly moving away, you may even take a bow..or that could be just me?

This was originally published on Firefly



March 13, 2019 at 9:48 pm

We all definitely know a Mary and a Nora. I always find calm and collected is better than fighting fire with fire. Great words.

March 14, 2019 at 11:21 am

Ahh I hear you! My 5 year old daughter is still in this stage and it is TOUGH! The 3T’s are a regular occurrence, whatever we do and wherever we go. I hope they grow out of it soon!

March 14, 2019 at 2:24 pm

Temper tantrums are bad aren’t they? Throw in the overload and it’s horrifying both for you and for your child. My oldest gets sensory overload with sounds. I still remember the first time I played Love shack in the car and he screamed bloody murder. I had no idea what was happening. I was still new to learning about Autism and didn’t expect music to be a problem. Music has been played for him since he was in the womb. All kinds of music. From classical to heavy metal. But the doctors explained to me this sensory problem and from there I learned to identify the songs that upset him and just didn’t play them in the car.
It’s amazing how just the smallest thing can overload our little ones. They seem small to us but they are huge to them.

March 14, 2019 at 8:23 pm

Oh they are so hard aren’t they. My daughter goes through these on a daily basis!

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