Today I found myself escaping a rather tense hostage situation. I feel lucky to have come out unscathed! The demands being made were ludicrous and at one point I thought there was no way out of the situation. I feared for us both. I was sweating, nervous, worried. Other innocent civilians were caught in the crossfire and they too didn’t know where to look or what to do. My captor was shouting, demanding, crying, throwing themselves on the floor.… Sorry did I say hostage situation? I meant dealing with a 2 year-old in the middle of a public meltdown!
I actually googled ‘dealing with a hostage situation’ and a wiki link (academic friends excuse the source) gave an extensive guide, many of the points completely apply to dealing with a toddler…
Attempt to establish a rapport with your abductor….
Avoid insulting your abductor or talking about potentially sensitive subjects….
Be a good listener – wikihow
Having been in some tricky situations recently I thought a more robust guide may help me and others, should we find ourselves in either situation.
- Stay calm. Never let them see our weakness or they will take full control. A chink in the armour can lead to certain defeat. I learnt this the hard way when I dithered at a demand. sensing weakness my daughter pounced and before I knew it I had lost the upper hand.
- Don’t shout. Sudden movements or noise may send them over the edge and end in disaster. Arguing, shouting, reasoning will get you nowhere mid meltdown. As hard as it is stay calm. I often fall into the trap of thinking if I raise my voice this will show her who is in charge. It in fact leads to such high-pitched screaming and throwing herself around that I wish we had a sound proofing as I’m convinced the neighbours think I’m torturing her.
- Don’t give in to the demands. In the height of the tension giving in to unreasonable demands may seem the easiest way to resolve the situation. It won’t, it will just escalate until one chocolate mini egg becomes a giant Easter egg. This includes asking for Daddy who may well give in to demands that mummy thinks are ridiculous.
- Remember this won’t last forever. The fear that this meltdown will last for hours is usually unfounded and, thankfully, a situation that seems insurmountable one minute can unexpectedly resolve itself as quickly as it started. How? I have no idea; it just sometimes happens like that!
- Stay strong! You can and will survive this. Even if you feel like taking cover under the nearest duvet, or if in public, into the nearest hole in the pavement. You can do this.
Here are some recent situations that warranted some of these tactics.
My toddler had an hour and half screaming fit at bedtime because her ‘big girl bed’ is too shiny.
She went into a frenzy because her sandwich had cheese, which she had asked for, when she actually wanted…cheese!?
She threw an epic wobbly in the street when she wanted to scoot home, however this was impossible seeing as her scooter was at home, where she has insisted we leave it when we went out.
Parenting a toddler is wonderful, funny and rewarding. Yet equally at times it is utterly bewildering, confusing and plain frustrating. You are doing a fab job. Just think, now you have parented a toddler you are more than equipped to become a hostage situation negotiator!