Everyone has experienced a childhood temper tantrum.
If you can’t remember – think back to the supermarket where you have seen a small person lose it on the floor of an aisle or think back to your own!
What is the one thing that makes it so challenging to deal with?
UNDERSTANDING what is going on inside their heads, right?!
Well how about if you knew ONE, really simple technique that could make a huge difference in the moment and also be a life skill for that developing child too? Useful?
IT TURNS OUT IT IS A QUESTION.
“Is this a big problem, a medium problem, or a small problem?”
We need to make children feel respected in the sense of acknowledging what they are feeling. And so, at the time of a crisis, whatever the reason for it, we need to help kids (ages 5 and up) think and figure out what is going on with them. When we acknowledge what they are going through, and at the same time make them participate in solving the problem, we can disarm the tantrum.
More objectively: When a tantrum starts — either because the doll’s arm came off, or because it’s time to go to bed, or because the homework did not come out the way she wanted, or because he did not want to do a chore — whatever the reason, when can ask them the question by looking into their eyes and in a calm voice – it gives them an opportunity to explore and understand for themselves.
This searching takes time, so give them time to enquire for themselves. Note: They have to come off “gone mad-mode” first in order to think clearly.
Every time you ask the question and she answers, we find a way to solve the problem, starting from her perception of where to look for the solution. A small problem is always quick and simple to solve. There are some problems she considers medium. They will most likely be solved, but not at that instant, and she has to understand that there are things that need some time to happen. If a problem is serious — and obviously what is serious from a child’s point-of-view is not something to be dismissed, even though it may seem silly to us — you might need to talk it over more and help her understand that sometimes there are things that do not go exactly the way we want.
I hope this helps all those parents out there with children who have their challenging moments. We have to love them and teach them the skills that they will need going forward. It gives them a sense of power, choice and ownership over themselves.
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