I know it may sound strange that adults have tantrums, but they are very real. We tend to think that only children throw tantrums and toddlers are the kings and queens of tantrums. I have a toddler so I would know, but to be honest I have thrown some adult sized tantrums in the past few years. Who am I kidding, within the past few days.
Sometimes I take a step back and realize how silly I must have looked or think to myself, “Really, Bry. How old are you.” We may have a more internal battle with our tantrums or even a verbal battle. I have found myself doing it so often, especially when things don’t go my way.
Adult tantrums may look a little different then a toddler’s or child’s, but in more ways than one they are similar. There’s lashing out, there’s yelling, and there’s a selfishness & entitlement behind almost all tantrums. I sat back one day as my daughter threw a temper tantrum, thinking to myself “seriously child, it’s just a toy. How many times do we have to go over this.” My patience so thin, my empathy gone for the child and my attitude turning. I simply wanted to withdraw myself, as I shook my head.
Within moments, a lightbulb moment happened for me. As if God was speaking to me right then, and my heart filled with both truth, humility and compassion. I could almost hear God saying “Did you not throw a tantrum with me the other day?” Me replying, “NO, I wasn’t kicking and screaming on the floor, that would be silly.” He gently replied, “But you were kicking and screaming on the inside.”
Ouch!! It was so true. I acted like a child when something didn’t go my way. I was screaming on the inside, “this isn’t fair. WHY. DOES. THIS. ALWAYS. HAPPEN. TO. ME!!!!!” I was angry, truth be told I wanted to kick and scream on the floor. I simply was done waiting patiently for things to happen in my life. I was done waiting for God to work in my life. I felt I had waited long enough. Sound familiar?
Kids throw a fit, because they feel they should have that toy NOW, they deserve snack NOW, they deserve another cookie NOW or that new toy NOW. It’s all about selfish ambition. ME. ME. ME. Or how about when kids want what’s not their’s. Envy. Adults never have that problem, right. As adults, we aren’t humble enough to admit that we are throwing tantrums on a daily basis.
I even do it with my children. When asked for more snack, another book, to help get the toys down, and the list goes on, there are moments I kick and scream inside….”why are you always asking me, bugging me.” When asked to do something I don’t want to do, I have a tantrum on the inside. How many times have our children thrown a tantrum when asked to do something?
Oh the similarities. Oh the hypocrisy. It wasn’t long before I could look at my child and feel an empathy for her. An understanding, because with age tantrums don’t go away. As I was looking at my child, feeling so frustrating with her, my loving Father was looking at me the other morning as well. But instead of frustration, He was filled with compassion, probably wondering the same thing I was as I watched my daughter “When is she going to get it.” The difference, He never grew impatient nor frustrated. He didn’t look at my thinking how foolish I looked, instead He felt compassion for me and a sincerity.
Ready to being the same lesson over again, until I finally got it. GRACE. Ready to help give me peace and to softly speak to me. It’s helped me to look at my children with the same mindset. I don’t want to give up on them, just as my heavenly Father hasn’t given up on me. I struggle with the same selfish mindset as they do, and I am 20 some years older than they are.
I have gotten better at talking through the fit with my daughter. Trying to name her emotions and help her understand her emotions, explaining that I too have those same emotions. Letting her know it’s hard, and “Mommy doesn’t like to be patient either sometimes, but it teaches us self control, kindness & humility.”
It wouldn’t be love if my Father were to grow impatient with me, shake His head and say “Really, Bry. Well guess what life’s tough get a helmet. Get over it.” I don’t want to be that harsh, hypocritical parent, when I am throwing tantrums daily, internally battling my selfish ambitions and arguing with God. Instead, I have begun to respond to myself and my child, just as God has with me. “I know it’s tough Bry. It’s not easy, but I am walking with you. We’ll do this together.” And that tantrum I was having, well it stops mid scream, because I see my foolishness and recognize I can control my emotions.
I have noticed a pattern. R acts out more when I haven’t given her the attention she deserves. I haven’t filled her emotional tank in a while. In the same way, I grow weary and tantrum like when I haven’t filled my spiritual tank with Jesus. So I’ve learned to take it as a que. R needs some mommy time & I need some Jesus time.
So next time you see a kid throwing a tantrum, don’t forget you threw one the other day as well. It just may have been on the inside.
Until Next Time Be Whole and Be Fit
What has your adult tantrum look like this week?