Trinity Mount Ministries

Saturday, October 8, 2011

What's the best way to deal with tantrums?

By Michelle Pate

By simply listening to my daughter's feelings during a tantrum,
I have found a couple things to be true:

-I don't feel manipulated by the tantrum.
-I just focus on hearing my daughter's upset, knowing I don't have to "fix" or "do" anything.
-When the tantrum has subsided, she is generally more flexible the rest of the day.
We have a more loving and cooperative connection with each other.-
- When I have chosen to ignore, or have given in to, a tantrum,
-I find my daughter and I stay in a state of disconnection that leads to more power
struggles and dissatisfaction during the day.

This morning my daughter had a tantrum because I didn't give her as much maple syrup
as she wanted...

She declared she wasn't eating breakfast.
I sat on the floor with her and listened to her cry.
I quieted my mind that wanted to say,
"You asked for pancakes all morning and you have plenty of syrup!"

But knowing all logic washes away when the mind is flooded with emotion,
I told her it was okay if she didn't want to eat right now
and reminded myself this wasn't really about pancakes.

My daughter struggled in my arms a little as I held her
and ended up lying on her back with her feet at my stomach.
When she settled down, I leaned forward to kiss her head,
but she pushed her feet into my belly, keeping me away.
I playfully tried again and again. This got her laughing.

Finally, she didn't push me away and she let me kiss her.
She then crawled into my lap, snuggled and said, "I'm ready for my pancake now."

Her tantrum only took a few minutes of listening
and we ended up enjoying a nice breakfast together.

As a parent I have to go on whatever resources
(emotional, mental, physical) I have in the moment.

If I am feeling worn down, I acknowledge to my daughter
that I see she is upset and tell her I am too tired to listen right now.

Taking some time for myself I can then return to my daughter and
offer the connection she needs. You will find the right balance for you.

Please review "The Happy Child Guide" for more information on dealing
with tantrums.

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