Mum’s the Word: Parenting Inside Out
Friday, May 22, 2015
For a while it seemed like she had started to outgrow having tantrums. Lately, though, her fits of toddler rage have been worse than ever before.
Usually, these outbursts are triggered by the most random and absurd reasons. For instance, she recently began begging me for a sister. She even found a picture of the little girl she wanted, a nine or ten year old, blond girl who she named “Laura.” Additionally, she also demanded that I give birth to this little girl by next Friday. She later added that I could adopt the little girl if needed.
Naturally, I declined her generous bargain, and she promptly began to wail.
Another time, she had a tantrum because I wouldn’t let her watch the neighbor’s TV through their open living room window. Luckily, I was momentarily granted godlike strength and was able to throw her over my shoulder and march as quickly as possible to our own front door.
Quite honestly, her tantrums have been more than I can handle. So in order to keep my daughter’s behavior from driving me to a life of hard crime and copious amounts of alcohol, I’ve started to do a lot more reading on parenting and emotions. Here are some of the things I’ve learned from ahaparenting.com and parentingcounts.org: SEE SLIDESHOW BELOW.
Related Slideshow: Mum’s the Word: Parenting Inside Out
The busier I become the more I respond to tantrums with the mindset of “diffuse as quickly as possible.” However, I’m realizing that these tantrums are an excellent time for me to learn more patience. Trying to end the tantrum as quickly as possible is only effective in addressing my daughter’s behavior and not the “triggers” that are causing her to have an emotional response. With that in mind, Aha! Parenting suggests that parents “respond to the needs and feelings behind problem behavior.” My attempts at ending undesirable behavior as quickly as possible, then, limit by ability to really connect her and understand what’s really going on in that little heart of hers.
While I’ve personally never gotten upset because my mother never allowed me to creepily watch TV through a neighbor’s windows, I can empathize with Lia’s feelings of frustration when she's feeling emotional. By empathizing, I’m not condoning her behavior. Rather, I’m simply letting her know that we are on this emotional roller coaster together. One way to show empathy is to simply explain to your child the type of emotions they are feeling. “I know you’re feeling sad and angry right now because of a, b, and c…” When you have the ability to name whatever emotion you’re feeling, you’re generally better equipped to deal with it.
Oddly enough, I’m really grateful for this rough week with Lia because it led me to do more research on the five steps of emotion coaching. You can read them HERE. However, here is an abbreviated list from the Parenting Counts website on how parents can better respond to our children when emotions are running high.
1. Be aware of emotions. Pay attention to your own emotions and how you handle them as much as you do to your child’s.
2. Connect with your child. Use emotional moments to bond.
3. Listen to your child. Take your child’s emotions seriously…avoid judging or criticizing them.
4. Name emotions, naming the emotions helps to soothe the child.
5. Find good solutions by redirecting misbehaving children for what they do, not what they feel.
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