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Fit | Fit To Be Tied!

I recently attended a social event that provided its guests with a delicious dinner and excellent entertainment. I arrived early to the event so I could have a good view of the entertainment. While I was seated at my table, I noticed a family seated themselves 2 tables over from where I was. During the course of the evening, my enjoyment of the event was constantly interrupted by a very unruly toddler sitting with the family 2 tables over. I witnessed multiple family members laughingly plead with the toddler to settle down, but the toddler was not in agreement with any of the pleas, and continued with her unruliness. I watched in complete disgust at the family members failed attempts to take control of the situation, and their total lack of consideration for all the other guests that came out to the event to enjoy themselves. In my disgust over the toddler’s behavior, I found myself curious about what was making her so angry and out of control. I commented to myself “that little girl is fit to be tied!”

What does fit to be tied mean? Immediately after I made the comment to myself, I actually started thinking about the origin of the idiom. Fit to be tied describes someone who is so extremely angry that they must be tied up to restrain them from committing an act of aggression. I found out that in the late 1800s, the practice of restraining a patient with rope, who might be experiencing a psychotic or emotional episode, had become very unpopular and considered inhumane. Ropes were replaced with camisoles (aka straitjackets) that were fitted with long sleeves that extended beyond the patient’s fingertips. The sleeves were crossed against the chest, and the ends of the sleeves were tied to the back of the jacket, ensuring very little movement. The camisole was designed to restrain patients who might have caused harm to themselves or others. Now, they have been replaced with other physical means to prevent patients from injuring themselves or others.

Just to be clear, I am not at all suggesting unruly toddlers be placed in restraints! However, I do believe parents should consider taking a walk outside, a drive around the block, or the use of some other type of calming method with a child, especially when that child is clearly upset, and creating an unpleasant commotion.

Share your thoughts on calming unruly toddlers.

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