SOL # 26 out of 31
I am dumbfounded at the tantrums our 5 year old has been displaying at home lately. I am talking about reverting back to the terrible-two phase, yelling and screaming, demanding and commanding, I -didn’t- get my- way tantrums. I hear word from her teacher that she studiously listens, learns, pays attention and maintains her composure all day long (even when others do not) Then she gets home and some days she “loses her cool.” However, my husband and I are trying a new approach her to meltdowns.
It seems as soon as a child raises their voice, clenches their teeth & shouts loud commands, the adults respond the same way. They shout, “How dare you raise your voice at me”. They command, “Go to your room young lady” and expect for the child to magically change their behavior.
If our little one fell down, skinned her knee and was crying. We would rush to her side, ask what happened, offer to kiss it, apply a bandaid or whatever else is needed. Of course, we would acknowledge the hurt and give her what she needs.
So that is the approach we are now taking with our daughter. When she has an upset or angry outburst, we stop what we are doing (generally we are occupied with a different task-cooking, phone, computer, etc) We acknowledge feelings...frustrated, mad, upset. Then ask, ‘What can I do to help?” Finally we try to provide her with what she needs. I’m not talking about caving in and giving her what she “wants” (ie ...the candy before dinner, to go to a friends house, etc) But realizing that she has some big feelings that she is having trouble dealing with. Sometimes she just needs the adult brain to process though the problem with her or an offer of other appropriate options, or a way to calm down, or sometimes just a minute to be sad...or feel angry. Knowing that we all have these feelings and these feelings are ok to have.
Oh believe me, in the heat of the moment, it is hard to control your own emotions and hard not to react and hard not to want to "make" her behave. But we know that none of those ways will give us a meaningful connection with our daughter nor will they teach her the skills that we want her to ultimately obtain so she can deal with big issues.
Wish us luck!