How many of you have just given up on the tantrums? Every day in my house someone is crying, not happy and whining. Some days you just want to give in. "Here, watch Paw Patrol" for the 18th time, to get them to stop crying over some Shopkin that is missing. It stops the tears, but it's only for a few minutes before it starts up again.
After reading How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk
, I've realized that the best thing to do is 'acknowledge their feelings' but how many times do we actually do that when we are tired, frustrated and just can't deal with another meltdown?
But this past week I really have been trying to make an effort to do it more and it DOES work. I know it's not a normal human reaction when your child is crying, to just stop, think about what your child is feeling/doing, and then just re-stating what you see going on. But if you think about it as an adult, if someone did the same to you, it would feel so much better and you'd feel understood!
Child: Bawling because she wanted Cheerios and not Raisin Bran cereal for breakfast
Parent: "It looks like you are feeling sad because you wanted Cheerios and not Raisin Bran for breakfast. You are crying, and that tells me you are sad and frustrated."
Parent: Hugs child. "It can be hard to want something really bad, and then not be able to get it"
Child: "Uh-huh" and stops crying.
Now your child may keep at it crying, "but I REALLY want Raisin Bran mom!" or they may be okay enough to have the other choices, or run off and play.
But you can still say what you are seeing and give that choice:
"I know how badly you really wanted Cheerios, but it looks like we are out of those. You can choose to have Raisin Bran, or Oatmeal this morning, what do you choose?" etc. (and if they don't want any, you can just give a choice of nothing too- you can choose raisin bran or chose not to eat anything for breakfast, the choice is up to you).
But just going through your day, and just stating the obvious of what they are doing, "you are really mad your sister took that iPad away from you and you don't like that!" really helps them feel understood.
Even if you don't agree with them and their reactions, you can still acknowledge their feelings. It will really help decrease their meltdowns:
"You are sad that your friend didn't play with you today"
"By throwing that toy, you are telling me you are really mad"
You can always then state your limit afterwards like, "But you know toys are not for throwing, let's try to find something else you can hit or throw when you feel mad. Come over here and hit this sofa if you are frustrated!"
But just try saying/mirroring back exactly what you see them doing/feeling, and I promise, it is crazy how well it helps. Try it this week and let me know how it works for you!