Published on February 26th, 2015 | 289 Views1
The best way to handle tantrums
Taking Baby Girl grocery shopping often means dealing with someone rolling around on the floor and making a scene because of a magazine, a chocolate or anything else within easy reach. That’s why I found it very useful to do the positive parenting course with The Parent Practice, which we were invited to attend in the autumn, and I’m thrilled to be able to share five simple steps to avert or manage meltdowns from Melissa Hood of The Parent Practice:
1. Engage without judgement–give time to calm
Remember that your child is in pain, not being a pain. They are unable to articulate what they are experiencing. Some will respond to a calm, quiet hug while some can’t bear to be touched; others need to run around outside; others simply need some quiet time to play and reconnect the thinking part of their brain with the big emotional part. You may need time to calm too so that you can connect with your child and respond to their needs rather than just reacting to behaviour you don’t like.
2. What’s behind the behaviour–reflect back to them
If your children are speaking, just listen, without words. If they’re not speaking, delve behind the behaviour. If they’re crying, you can say “you’re so annoyed you have to go to bed before Gilly.” If they’re slamming doors or throwing things use a strong voice to reflect the strength of their feelings: “wow … you are so MAD!” When they’re being bolshie, “I can hear something is upsetting you.” Don’t ask them questions or try to reason with them. “Well, where do you want sit?” can’t be processed and will throw fuel on the fire.
3. Validate their feelings
Acknowledging their feelings doesn’t mean accepting the behaviour or agreeing with them. When a child says: “You love [sister] more than me,” and you respond: “You’re feeling that she’s more important to me than you?” … it’s not a confirmation that she is. It’s simply allowing their feeling to be out there … heard. Addressing the feeling helps end the tantrum … then you can address any behaviour.
4. Don’t fix
We are so quick to want to fix things for our kids and to help them feel better. Rather than advising them and telling them what to do, it is more empowering to help them to come up with their own solutions.
5. Stay calm
We know this is the holy grail of parenting. It always helps to have a go-to mantra to catch yourself. I love Bonnie Harris’s ‘he’s having a problem … not being a problem’. That helps clears the mind to make the conscious choice to respond to the situation with calm compassion.
The Parent Practice now also offers an online parenting course, and as Mummy in the City is an affiliate member of The Parent Practice, readers can click HERE for a 20% discount