It's been on my mind lately that there has to be a better way when it comes to disciplining our children.
The thing is, we can forget at times that they can't control their emotions. Sometimes, I see my daughter getting so worked up, so out of control, so up in emotion-ville that I don't actually know what to do.
What do I do most of the time? I go kind of crazy with her.
And I'll tell you what works - definitely not that.
Tantrums can be a sign that a child feels out of control or unheard and that's one thing I know for sure. Now, I'm definitely not the perfect parent but one thing that I do try to do is check in with myself when things are getting a little bit crazy and even remember to check in with myself when things are going well so I can document what works with our family.
When Bo is having a meltdown, I know that I need to love on her and listen to her. I know that she needs time together instead of time out. Not praise. Not making it okay to have a tantrum but just sitting with her and listening and understanding her, not trying to tell her what to do.
I think that's the biggest issue we face as parents. When our children are not acting the way our expectations require, we discipline, we shut them down, we tell them that their opinion doesn't matter right now and we're right and they are wrong. They should be acting how we want them to. Rarely do I see someone control a tantrum otherwise, unless there's fear or bribery around it.
One thing that I know to be true is that when Bo can't control her emotions, me sitting with her, listening and understanding what she's going through, makes such a difference to her state and mine because, not only does she get to calm down but, I get to be present with myself and with her.
This is creating amazing habits for our children in the future. I mean, monkey see, money do. I know that I am guilty of getting bored and going into the kitchen and picking around at what I can find and I've seen my daughter do that too. I knew from the beginning, that it was a habit that she might pick up so I know that now I've got to be more mindful of that.
I can't discipline her for doing what it is that I do, we have to check in together and make changes that are sustainable for the growth of us both.
Another thing that I know helps when it comes to tantrums and children not being able to get out of that disruptive state is to start being creative.
I remember one night, being at a friend's house for dinner and her daughter was getting really worked up about something. I can't remember what it was but it was some issue that really was affecting her. I could see that she couldn't control her emotions and I could also see that things were really starting to get out of hand.
So, while we were sitting at the dinner table, I looked out the window, jumped up quickly and shouted, "Oh my goodness, I just saw a purple dragon fly past the window!" All of a sudden, my friend's child was amerced in what it was that I was seeing. She ran to the window, smiling, looking around, I went with her and I told her that it must have flown away but I was explaining to her what the purple dragon looked like and she was taken out of her hectic state and put into one of curiosity and excitement.
The tantrum was forgotten and all was well.
I encourage you, when you think about disciplining your children, to just check in with yourself as to where your intention is at? Is your intention to turn your child into the child that you believe they should be, to act the way that you believe they need to act? Or is your intention to listen, be with them and guide them as they develop into the person that they need to be to live the best life that they need to live?