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Toddler temper tantrums and your own temporary sanity

November 25, 2014 The Wine Time Dad 0 Comments Category :

Toddlers are little psychos and sociopaths.

I'm just going to throw that out there before we go much further, so that you can decide whether you want to continue on or not. I should also warn you that this statement isn't going to be fleshed out in a revelatory way that also comes to some cute, "mommy-blogish" sort of conclusion. All the while being completely unmindful of how inapt and politically incorrect calling a cute little toddler a psycho actually is. Nope. I'm gonna leave it at that and then quickly usher you through to my conclusion without any neat and gradual discussion.

BECAUSE if you've ever owned one of those things, namely a toddler, you probably know exactly what I'm talking about and don't need to read any further. Just nod your head yes, like you get it, and stop reading right here.

If you're oblivious right now, not a parent or want to see how I put my foot in my mouth, then consider all the nebulous information and horror stories you've collected about a toddler temper tantrum or general behavior and continue on...


Have you ever, just once, looked at a toddler and thought, barring their current cognitive development, they've gone fucking psycho. If you have had this thought, well then, I have my in. But, even if you've never thought a child psychotic, per se, I'm sure their behavior has tripped your 'holy shit' wire. As in, "Holy shit... I can't put into words what the is going on over there, but in the deepest recesses of my conscious mind, the word psycho keeps popping up."

Now, we're really getting somewhere.

In fact, much of a toddler's general breakdowns and general naughtiness is analogous with symptoms, sorry, characteristics we stereotypically attribute various clinical conditions. One minute, little Betsy is just your average toddler and the next she's a [raging] sociopath, schizophrenic, paranoid schizophrenic, [has] multiple personality disorder, [is] bipolar, severely emotionally unbalanced, literally possessed or just a lucky individual with little or no social filter.

Before you go all PC on me, I should qualify this by emphasizing that I don't mean to say toddlers are actually psychotic in the clinical way, which would be wrong and insensitive. Unless they are, which isn't my expertise. However, at any given moment they can exhibit short-term behavior patterns that, you know, kinda resemble any of the above psychotic behavior.

Under the umbrella of "toddlerism" a child can get away with behavior no socially adjusted adult or well-behaved older child could get away with. Like excreting rear-end material on the floor more than once, in a non-accidental way. Or, letting out a blood curdling scream at a random set of stairs. Or better yet, impulsively yelling, "Boobies!" at the sight of the anatomical part and mindlessly grasping for them (the parents should be blamed for teaching any child to do such a thing). No, this is not rational behavior for any human, other than a toddler, and if you saw it with a non-toddler, you would assume that this person would fit one of the politically incorrectly used labels above.

Now, whether you would label this behavior psychotic or not, isn't relevant. What's relevant is what is objectively factual, and a person emptying his/her bowels repeatedly in public is either physically or mentally assailed in some way. How about the irrational attachment to physical objects and the separation from said objects bringing on rage and violence?

See what I mean? If you can't see the (albeit) tenuous and contrived link, then I suggest you drink a little more and read it again.

I realize that some of you might argue this example is, by no definition of the age range, anywhere near the extent to which a toddler can trip the psycho meter. Clearly, there is more a toddler could do that would better typify truly psychotic behavior, but this whiskey ain't gonna drink itself and I don't want to bore you with another anecdotal story. However, if you do need some better examples to stir your imagination, then here:

  • self-harm when they don't get what they want, after they hit you, when they're angry, when they're happy or when they're confused
  • self-harm trauma to the head for all the same reasons or no reason at all
  • eye for an eye retribution unless a preemptive strike is an effective way to grad the toy your want
  • become possessed when changing a diaper, either with glee or rage- no reason needed except this time, because fuck it, they don't want their diaper changed
  • openly pick nose and eat it
  • mine mine mine mine mine mine mine. Gimme gimme gimme... ... GIMMEE!
  • conversations with people who aren't there while ignoring people who are
  • violently and capriciously changing their emotional states in seconds
  • throw themselves at dangerous objects or attempt to acquire dangerous objects because, you know, it's there
  • attempt to unwittingly commit suicide by throwing themselves off high perches because weeeee!
  • Ooo, a bus! Bus! Bus! 
  • zero impulse control
  • innate desire to destroy any and all electronic equipment with food stuffs
  • play with their "parts" in public
  • scream out the name of their "parts" in public
  • scream out the name of their parts on command
  • becoming possessed instantly garners the attention of every large person in the general vicinity
  • destroy a favorite toy because they didn't get a cookie
  • cry over the destroyed toy and blame you for its demise
  • eat poop
  • No cookie? Temper tantrum.
  • hit you with destroyed toy
  • throw poop
  • Hate you. Love you. Hate you. Love you. Waaaaaa!
  • get so excited they puke
  • play with puke
  • kill insects with cold indifference
  • Puke up half-eaten insects
  • Eat anything off the ground
  • make parents look and sound like someone who may have multiple personality disorder, is emotionally unbalanced, crazy, manic-depressive sociopaths that have to sound like an idiot to get their point across.  
So, as you can see, toddlers may not necessarily be psychotic, but they are psychotic, at times. No matter how temporary or infrequent. Your toddler may be sweet and loving most of the time, but they are also one 'no' away from absolutely losing their shit. All the time.

Which isn't something any first-time parent should worry about. We have to remind ourselves that as a developing conscientious being, we all have to start somewhere. It's not like we have some fully developed behavior and morality program built into our systems. As far as we know with current research, we have some rudimentary software that's more survival driven than anything else. The software has to go through a series of upgrades or minor updates throughout life.

Sometimes those upgrades/ updates come with bugs, that may or may not ever get hammered out through the course of adult life...

Who am I kidding? None of us is ever that many steps away from a total psychotic breakdown. So let that toddler's psychotic temper tantrum be a reminder to you. The next time you see a toddler flip the switch to psycho because you didn't let them pick up that one rock, they saw over there, amongst the 100,000 other rocks, consider your own temporary sanity and how fragile it is. You're one fundamental political difference away from stepping off the deep end yourself.

Have a pleasant evening, you raving lunatics!