"Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it."-- Harold Hulbert
You know how important it is to manage your child's life so his basic needs get
met and he feels "good" in his skin and in his life. Predictable routines,
plenty of sleep, downtime, cuddles and quality connection time all help kids be
at their best. But every child has times when life just seems too much for
them, and they can't behave the way they'd like. That's when they act most childish
(just like adults!).
We all know that when we respond to those difficult times by losing our cool,
tempers escalate and a small storm can turn into a full-scale tornado that sweeps
all our good intentions away. What can you do to keep your cool and settle your
child down? Here's your five-step plan.
1. Make sure you aren't running on empty. You
can't act much nicer than you feel. If your own cup is empty, how can you
give to your child? Find sustainable ways to keep your nature sunny, so you
can give your child the best of yourself and keep your own emotions regulated.
That keeps you ready to rise to the occasion when your child signals he needs you.
How does he do that? By misbehaving!
Can't find a way to let the sun in? You owe your child, and yourself, a
change. You're the grown-up, so get whatever help you need to show up with
unconditional love for your child.
2. Stop, Drop and Breathe. Train yourself: As soon as
you feel temperatures rising, just stop. Drop whatever you’re doing, whether
that means turning off the stove, pulling the car to the side of the road, or telling
your friend you’ll call her back. Then take a few deep breaths. This calms you
physically, so your mind has a chance to keep your body from getting hijacked into
3. Remind yourself: This is an opportunity, not an emergency.
An opportunity for what? Getting closer to your child by helping her work
through whatever’s bothering her – and teaching her to manage her emotions by role-modeling
emotional intelligence.Kids learn more by watching our behavior
than by what we say. However you act with your child when she's four is how she'll
act with you when she's fourteen. Wouldn’t you rather have a teenager who helps
you calm down rather than one who screams at you?
4. Watch your tone and bite your tongue, if necessary.
Research shows that the more calmly we speak, the more calm we feel, and the more
calmly others respond to us. When we use highly charged words, it makes both us
and our listener even more upset and the situation escalates. Think your child
needs to learn a lesson? It's more likely to stick if you wait until both
of you calm down to teach it.
5. It’s never too late. If you suddenly realize you’ve
been hijacked by your own emotions, just stop. Breathe. Shake out your
hands to let some of that anger drain out. Say “Mommy needs to calm down” and
walk away if necessary. The more often you can stop in mid-scream, the more
often you’ll find you can cool down before you even open your mouth.
When things heat up, these five steps can seem impossible. But if you just
keep practicing, they become second nature, and the whole tone in your home gets
sunnier. Start now with Step 1, to be sure your own cup is full. Next time your
child "provokes you," you'll be able to rise to the occasion and avert the
May your week be filled with sunshine -- and miracles, large and small.