Lesson Five: Taming Temper Tantrums Through Arson

Jenny Lawson
Being a Mom
17

Note: I wrote this article while on massive amounts of cold medication and I'm pretty sure I have some sort of deadly cholera so I can't really be held responsible for anything I write here. Which, now that I think about it, is pretty much the same as usual, except more drugs are involved. You know what? Never mind. Let's just get started.

This week we're talking about how to control temper tantrums with the subtle art of arson.

Lots of children deal with anger-management issues, and most of their parents will pass this off as a normal phase that kids go through as they learn how to deal with emotions. In most cases the parents are right, but in some cases those children will turn into dangerous sociopaths who are now waiting in the park to stab you. It is for this reason (public safety) that children should be taught to deal with anger and temper problems as soon as possible.

I should note here that there are different levels of aggression in children and you will have to use your best judgment to decide whether your child is normal or a dangerous menace who should be stopped at all costs. For example, if your child is two and is occasionally biting others, that might be a perfectly normal response. If your child is twenty and is occasionally biting others, then it's slightly less normal.  

If my child stabs a teacher with a fork, then I would probably have to question what the teacher did to provoke my child. If your child pushes mine down, then they obviously have serious anger management issues and I will track them down, show up in their bedroom at night, and threaten to have fairies eat their legs off. Some people might claim that this is an example of my personal anger management issues, but I would assure those people that I am actually a very calm and reasonable person and that if they don't stop questioning me, I will cut their arms off with a hacksaw. I would just use the same "fairies will eat your legs off" threat, but sadly, most grown-ups refuse to acknowledge the existence of leg-eating fairies. Sad, really.

Wait. Where was I? My God, this is strong cold medicine.

Oh. Right. Temper tantrums. There are a lot of different techniques you can use to help your children control their anger. Communication, teaching them to use their words, distraction, and helping them understand the repercussions of a temper tantrum are all good techniques, but none of them are as deeply effective as convincing your child that they are a Firestarter. You might remember the book (and movie of the same name), but in case you missed it, Firestarter is a story by Stephen King about a girl who is able to start fires with her mind when she gets mad. It's bad-ass and I highly recommend it. You should rent a copy of the movie and convince your child that it's a documentary. Then, the next time your kid throws a fit because they don't want to share their Barbies with their sister, just distract them both and quickly set fire to the Barbies. This will not only distract them from the temper tantrum, but it will also make them terrified of dealing with anger and they will learn to suppress all negative emotions until they are safely out of your home. 

Be aware, however, that this plan requires both stealth and follow-through. The first time your child notices your poorly concealed flamethrower, you're kind of fucked because then they're going to suspect you and get mad at you and then the only way to keep up the ruse is to pretend to be insulted, walk into the bathroom, and surreptitiously set fire to yourself.  

Yes, it will be dangerous and painful but no one ever said raising a child was easy. Of course, no one ever said that setting yourself on fire as a learning technique was a good idea either. Except for me, that is. I just said that.

I should maybe go lie down now. I blame this whole article on the cholera.


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