"Sending children away to get control of their anger perpetuates the feeling of 'badness" inside them...Chances are they were already feeling not very good about themselves before the outburst and the isolation just serves to confirm in their own minds that they were right." -- Otto Weininger,Ph.D. Time-In Parenting
When our kids get angry, it pushes buttons for most of us. We're not perfect, but we try to be loving parents. Why is our child lashing out like this?
Many parents send an angry child to her room to "calm down." After all, what else can we do? We certainly can't reason with her when she's furious. It's no time to teach lessons or ask for an apology. She needs to calm down.
If we send him to his room, he will indeed calm down, eventually. He'll also have gotten a clear message that his anger is unacceptable, and that he's on his own when it comes to managing his big scary feelings--we don't know how to help him. He won't have worked through whatever led to his anger. Instead, he'll have stuffed the anger, so it's no longer under conscious control, and will burst out again soon. No wonder so many of us develop anger-management issues, whether that means we yell at our kids, throw tantrums with our spouse, or overeat to avoid acknowledging angry feelings.
What can we do instead? We can help our kids learn to manage their anger responsibly. That begins with accepting anger -- without acting on it. READ POST
"How much more love and affection can I give him? .... Because once you pee on your brother, you've gone too far, and we have to fix this now."
What's a parent to do when a child acts out in a big way? In a recent post, we evaluated some options: spanking, time-out, sticker charts. Bottom line, they're unlikely to be effective, because they don't get to the root of the behavior. We can assume the toddler is showing his baby brother who's boss because he's feeling major jealousy. Punishing him will just reinforce the sibling rivalry, because it convinces him that he really has lost you.
Then, in our last post, we talked about how connecting differently with your child can turn a situation like this around. Instead of punishing, nip this behavior in the bud by focusing on prevention. Refill your child’s love tank and give her an emotional tune-up on a daily basis, so you don’t end up in the breakdown lane. Hard, yes--but it works. When you connect with your child in the way she needs, most of the time her behavior improves dramatically.
But what if it doesn't? "Just how much more love and attention can I give him?" I call this the leaky cup syndrome. The answer is, if you're really giving him all the love and attention you can, and it isn't changing his behavior, it's because you aren't healing the feelings driving the behavior. READ POST
don't understand how to even begin to validate our very strong willed
2.5 son when he is screaming at me from inside the van and won't get in
his seat so we can get his big sister from school and the 6 month old is
there as well..." - Anita
In my last post, When You Just Don't Have Time for That Meltdown, I pointed out that Preventive Maintenance can help you avoid meltdowns at those inconvenient times, like when you're trying to get your kids in the car to go somewhere. What's preventive maintenance?
Well, what happens to your car if you don't fill it with gas, change the oil, and give it a regular tune up? It ends up in the breakdown lane. Life with children isn't so different. Unfortunately, parents aren't given a preventive maintenance plan for their children. But if you don't refill your child's love tank, roughhouse with him daily so he gets some good giggling in, and give him regular one-on-one time, you can count on more breakdown time. Especially if there's a relatively new baby in the family, or if you're transitioning from conventional parenting to gentle parenting and your child has some old stuffed emotions to process. READ POST
"2 year-olds argue with their parents 20 to 25 times an hour." -- Study reported in Child Development Magazine
Between 11 and 15 months, we learn a wonderful word: "No!"
It's an ecstatic discovery. We learn we are separate, autonomous beings with a will of our own who can impact what happens in the world. We delight in saying, "No!" at every opportunity.
Our "No" is actually a big "YES!"
It's an awesome, pure expression of our life force.
After the first cute "No" or two, our parents are usually less than delighted. In fact, this developmental stage launches what's often called the "terrible twos." Rarely are our ecstatic expressions of primal life force affirmed. Do you remember your father or mother saying:
"I love your independence and autonomy!"
"I see that you're learning to stand up for your own truth, which will really help you later in life." READ POST
"Dr. Laura...You wrote: 'Sometimes
kids just need to cry...Set a reasonable limit and welcome his meltdown.'
Are you saying that I should just say No and let my son cry, and things
will get better? That's what my parents did, and I spent hours in my
room crying. It wasn't good for me, and it made me so angry at them." -
Shelly makes a good point. Kids do need to cry, to heal all those feelings that are making them act out. But that's only healing if they have a compassionate witness -- the safe haven of a parent. Leaving your child to cry alone just traumatizes her, and gives her the message that she's all alone with those scary feelings, just when she needs us most. READ POST
"If you entertain thoughts that... your child is
manipulating you, taking advantage of you, ignoring you, or
disrespecting you -- you will often feel annoyed, irritated, and angry.
However, when instead you think in terms of the needs that you and your
child are trying to meet, then you are more likely to feel compassion
and connection. And you are much more likely to take action that
contributes to your child's well-being as well as your own." -- Sura
Hart & Victoria Kindle-Hodson
Is your child's behavior irritating you? Whether he's whining, bossy, or defiant, here's why -- what you can do about it. READ POST