Linda Tames Her Tiger

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Linda Tames Her Tiger is a story about a little girl who finds a solution to her temper tantrums. In this story Linda finds out that her mother also used to suffer from the same problem as a child, and is told how her grandfather had helped her mother overcome the problem many years ago.

Illustrations Virpi Talvitie

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– Linda is such a lovely girl said granny, and she is so nice as well.

– She is nice most of the time but not all the time, said mother with a sigh.

– Well I think she is always nice, answered granny.

momandgranma– You don’t know everything. At times she is quite impossible, said mother sadly.

– All children can sometimes be a bit difficult. It’s not that serious, said granny trying to calm mother down.

– You don’t understand. Linda gets out of control. She has fierce temper tantrums. I am afraid that soon I won’t be able to take it any longer. Yesterday she had an attack like that at the shopping centre. It was terrible. Everyone was watching us. I am sure they thought that I am an awful mother who cannot raise my children properly. Mother felt like crying.

– It’s not your fault if Linda has temper tantrums, said granny reassuringly.
Many children have tantrums. You even had tantrums when you were little. I remember one time you were screaming and throwing yourself all over the place so fiercely that you wet you pants.

granmaandlinda
– I don’t remember anything like that, said mother with a smile on her face.

– You don’t have to remember everything, said granny and had a sip of coffee.
All I am saying is that it wasn’t all that easy you either.

– How did I get over the temper tantrums? Did it happen by itself or did you do something, asked mother.

momwithcoffeecup– I don’t really remember. I think you arranged some kind of competition with your father. I remember both of you lying on the floor competing who could throw the wildest temper tantrum. I don’t know exactly what you did but whatever it was it appeared to help you get rid of your tantrums. Perhaps you should ask your father, he remembers better. Who knows, perhaps you could do something similar with Linda.

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Mother spoke to Linda:

– Granny just told me that when I was a child, I had tantrums similar to yours. She said that grandpa helped me get rid of my tantrums and that he knows how to help children overcome them. Shall we go and ask him what we can do to help you overcome your tantrums? What do you say?

Linda wondered why grandpa knew how to get rid of temper tantrums. Perhaps he also had temper tantrums as a child.

– Yes, let’s go, said Linda taking her mother by the hand.

Together they went to grandpa who was working in the garden. Linda was curious to find out what grandpa would say.

granpa– Hello grandpa, said mother, do you remember me having temper tantrums when I was a child?

– Sure I do. We called them tiger bouts. You were furious as a tiger cub. You cried and raged and would not let anybody hold you.

– Why on earth did I do that, wondered mother.

inthebelt– I don’t know but usually something annoyed you. It could have been a small thing like that we would refuse to buy you another ice cream cone, or that we insisted that you buckle your seat belt. When you became angry you simply could not stop it. That was when we said that the tiger inside you had lost its temper. Mother thought for a moment. Then she remembered that as a child she had in fact made a drawing of her inner tiger. She had the feeling that she still had that picture in a box that contained memories from her childhood. She remembered that her tiger had been so fierce that even she was afraid of it.

– Linda is like that too. She has difficulties stopping her fury even when she wants to.

– How did mom get rid of the Tiger, Linda asked grandpa?

– She didn’t get rid of it, said grandpa. She tamed it.

– How did she tame it, asked Linda with a keen look on her face.

– Is it true that you competed with me to see who could throw the fiercest tantrum? That is what granny said. Is it true?

sitting-in-lap– No it’s not true, said grandpa. It was not a competition. I just showed you how to tame one’s tiger. When I showed you, you did the same and grandma must have thought that we were competing.

– So how did you tame the tiger, asked Linda.

– We can show you how you mom tamed hers if you want, said grandpa.

– Yes, show me, said Linda. I want to see.

– All right we can show you, said grandpa. He turned to mother and said, shall we show Linda how we did?

– I would like to show her, but I don’t remember what we did, said mother.

– Don’t worry about that. I will tell you what to do. You will remember, said grandpa. Then he gave mother the following instructions:

– Ask me to give you this spade. I will refuse to give it to you. You will not take no for an answer and you will continue to ask for it.. I will still not give the spade to you. You will become so angry that the tiger inside you wakes up and also becomes angry. Right when you are in the middle of your terrible tiger tantrum, I will say the magic word ‘freeze’. When you hear that word ‘freeze’ you will immediately stop the tantrum and act as if nothing had happened. Do you understand the instructions? Asked grandpa.

– Yes I do, said mom.

circusmeisterI vaguely remember the Tiger, said mother, but I don’t remember this game of freezing in the middle of the tantrum. Let’s do it anyway. At that very moment mother suddenly turned to grandpa, and said: “Give me that spade!”

– No I won’t give you the spade, grandpa said decisively.

At that point mother started screaming with a loud voice. Linda was frightened even though she knew that it was just make-believe. Mother then threw herself onto the ground, and started cursing grandpa with words that Linda had never heard before. Mother even tried to spit on grandpa, not for real of course, but it all looked very real to Linda. Mother was such a good actor.

tigerwithhumanheadThen suddenly grandpa said ‘freeze’, and in that very moment mom stopped the play tantrum, stood up as if nothing had happened, and brushed her clothes with her hands. Linda was hoping that nobody had seen what her mother had just done. What would her friends think if they had seen her mother having a tantrum on the lawn as if she was a two-year old baby?

– This is the way you tame tigers explained grandpa. First you wake up your tiger and then when it is really angry, you suddenly calm it down. If you want, I can show you how good I am at taming my tiger. Shall I show you? Asked grandpa.

– You don’t have to, said mother, I think Linda already has quite a good idea of how to do it.

tigerthinkingLinda nodded. She found the thought of her grandfather throwing a tantrum on the lawn amusing, but it was not something she wanted to happen for real. In fact she was afraid that some of her friends would find out that her family was so strange that the adults threw themselves on the ground to have tantrums for no reason at all.

That evening, when Linda was already in bed getting ready to go to sleep, mom came to her and said,

– Linda, look what I found in my box in the attic. This is the drawing that I made of my Tiger as a child. What do you think about it?

momshowingpicture– That’s a really good drawing, said Linda. I didn’t know you were such a good artist.

– Thank you, said mother. Tomorrow you can draw a picture of your tiger and then we can start to practice taming it the way I did with grandpa.
– I don’t want to, said Linda. It was horrible when you screamed and shouted to grandpa the way you did. You have to promise me never to do anything like that again.

 

– But I did it just to show you how to do it. It was just a game. I was not really angry at grandpa.

– Whatever, but I think I want to tame my tiger in another way, said Linda.

– Do you think you will be able to, asked mother.

– My tiger is already quite tame, said Linda.

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