Every parent needs to read his advice about toddler tantrums
“Jane the Virgin” actor Justin Baldoni took to Facebook this week to share a family photo and the touching story behind it. In the process, he dropped some serious wisdom about toddler tantrums and the reason we shouldn’t feel embarrassed when our kids lose it in public.
In his viral post, Baldoni explains that he and his family were on a Whole Foods run when his little girl experienced a typical toddler meltdown.
Baldoni explains that his wife Emily took the photo of him and his father, both staring down at Baldoni’s daughter in the midst of a tantrum among customers at the grocery store. At first glance, it’s a pretty funny picture — but as the dad shares, there’s a lot more to it.
Calling it one of his favorite photos ever of himself and his father, Baldoni writes, “Two men, standing together in silence, forever bonded by an unconditional love for both each other and this brand new, raw and pure soul who we would both go to the ends of the earth for.”
The actor says he can only imagine how many times he put his dad in that very same position when he was little, and the way his father handled it is now informing his own parenting. “My dad taught me so much about what it means to be a man, but this post is about one thing and one thing only. Being comfortable in the uncomfortable. Something I grew up watching him do with me over and over again.”
He says his father taught him not to parent based on the opinions of others. “My dad always let me feel what I needed to feel, even if it was in public and embarrassing. I don’t remember him ever saying “You’re embarrassing me!” or “Don’t cry!” It wasn’t until recently that I realized how paramount that was for my own emotional development.”
Because while we might panic at the reaction of total strangers when our little ones lose their cool, we would do well to keep in mind what those difficult moments mean for their development. “Our children are learning and processing so much information and they don’t know what to do with all of these new feelings that come up. I try to remember to make sure my daughter knows it’s OK that she feels deeply.”
He says, “It’s not embarrassing to me when she throws tantrums in the grocery store, or screams on a plane. I’m her dad…not yours. Let’s not be embarrassed for our children. It doesn’t reflect on you.”
He couldn’t be more correct. I wish I had read this years ago when my kids were in their public tantrum phase, because I absolutely felt embarrassed by it and didn’t really consider that there’s simply no reason to be. It’s totally normal for small children to have these moments, because they’re learning to handle some very big feelings. Our patience when they’re trying to sort this stuff out is crucial.
He closes by reminding us to be more patient, not just with our kids, but with ourselves. “If we got out everything we were feeling and allowed ourselves to throw tantrums and cry when we felt the need to then maybe we’d could also let ourselves feel more joy and happiness. And that is something this world could definitely use a little more of.”