When parents come to me frustrated – having ‘tried’ everything they could for their child’s TEMPER TANTRUMS, my heart goes out to them. Parents are innocent to the extent they do not know what is really happening. After knowing if parents do not take appropriate action then we can call it irresponsible behavior on the parent.
UNDERSTAND THE PROBLEM BEFORE JUMPING TO THE SOLUTION
The reason why nothing works is because we have not understood the problem correctly or completely. Jumping to a solution without knowing the actual problem never brings results. So what is the actual problem when a child shouts, screams, stomps, acts stubborn? The problem is in the way we perceive the child’s behaviour. We believe the child WANTS to be difficult, needs that cookie or TV time and that’s why the child is wrong.
The truth is that the child is looking to fulfill another EMOTIONAL NEED through this behaviour. Not all children throw temper tantrums and anyone who sells you into the TERRIBLE TWOs idea is not completely right. Tantrums are a way for kids to express EMOTIONAL PAIN. It is an emotional wound. What would you do when your child had physically hurt, really badly? Would you not rush to soothe your child and do a remedy with ‘LOVE’ vs. criticizing?
Our children scream and shout because and only because they see OTHER ADULTS scream and shout, most likely one or more of their immediate care givers. We have taught our children that ‘shouting and screaming is THE WAY to solve problems’. It is not their fault. They are only imitating us! Think again before you show them CARTOONS, NEWS, TV SHOWS that portray VIOLENCE and POWER as a means of problem solving or ‘winning’ over the good or the bad.
It is human nature to scream or shout when one feels overwhelmed from the situation. It is the ultimate height of frustration.
Children get frustrated because they feel misunderstood. They do not have words in their mental dictionary to recognize and say – “I am stubborn for the cookie because IN REALITY I am feeling LONELY or UNWANTED…” It is for US to understand what the underlying emotional need is. Maybe they were ill-treated in school or they feel criticized by other adults. Maybe they feel rejected or simply miss spending time with us and our personal attention. Have you been way too B-U-S-Y lately?Maybe they are being ‘abused’ in some way. We are their only support. Please let us understand our children. A child who regularly or often throws temper tantrums is in IMMEDIATE and URGENT EMOTIONAL NEED.
We must accept that we throw tantrums as well! If we don’t accept our mistakes and improve, neither will our children. We shout, scream, get angry at our children and others. Even if we don’t anger our kids, they watch us communicate with others. They learn by seeing us with others as well.It could be that you are facing tough situations at home, at work or through your in-laws. That is understandable and yet, it is our duty to get support for ourselves so that we can raise children in a stable manner. Some ways to VENT out our frustrations and anger are: Pen it down on paper, talk to a friend who will be non-judgmental, take coaching or counseling sessions (very helpful), play sports and exercise, improve eating and sleeping habits, discuss with your family members how they can improve and support you, move out of highly stressful situations or jobs, etc.
Going to counselor or a coach does not mean something is wrong with you or that you will be ‘CORRECTED’. It means that you deserve UNCONDITIONAL and NON-JUDGEMENTAL SUPPORT and CARE along with expert advice.
Take time out. Understand yourself. Be observant. When your pressures are rising and you are about to hit the frustration mark, let your kid/s know that you are feeling ‘OVERWHELMED’ and need to calm down before you continue the conversation (no matter how imp., take a break!). Tell them that you will come back to them once you are able to calmly talk to them.
Same for your kids. Encourage your kids to take time off saying that it will help YOU understand THEM better when they are calmer. They can choose their CALM SPOT in the house beforehand and a favorite soft toy or God to talk to. Allow them that silence and even privacy if needed (Make sure they don’t lock rooms or other adults don’t go after them).
Attending to our kids doesn’t mean bowing down to all their needs. And an angry child doesn’t mean a child who wants to be DIFFICULT or MEAN.
Do you shout at your child because you enjoy being difficult, mean or harsh? If your answer is NO, same applies to your child. Children don’t want to ‘get into trouble’. Nobody likes being criticized. They are in serious emotional help and if their IMMEDIATE care givers cannot give them the sense of security, who will? As parents, we are the epitome of a SECURE WORLD FOR THEM. If they don’t get it from home, they will never get from anywhere!
On the other hand, let’s say your child is truly ‘out-of-hand’. That your child truly wants to manipulate and ‘get things out of you’. Yet, once again here you the parent have set that behavioural theme at some point. The child has LEARNT that I can get things out of my parent/s if I cry, throw fits, etc. Once again the problem is not with the child but with the parent who thinks “Jaane dete hai. Bechara bahut ro raha hai”. This is the ‘Easy way out approach’.
In reality, often times you don’t want to give in to the child but it is easier than dealing with the drama. If you could stay firm yet polite means clearly state, repeat and then stay silent with the same ‘mantra’, it would help you send the right message to your child.
E.g. – “No matter how you show me your anger, it is not T.V. day today.. However, I would love to spend 10 mins. (or more) of hide and seek (or anything you like) with you. I miss it so much. Tell me when you are ready for it. I will wait for you in my room until then”.
In our original Hindu Scriptures it is clearly written that not only should children respect elders but elders must ALSO respect those younger to them. It is also stated that when an elder person is wrong, a child has the right to correct them. These shlokas are said out during pujas like Satyanarayan puja and if the pujari is wise, he explains it too!
It is sad that our culture today only teaches and even FORCES kids to RESPECT adults and by respect they mean – “Never correct your adults”. On Janmashtami Day I want to spread this message. Lord Krishna is our perfect example who has taught us that wisdom does not come with age in one birth, it comes with the age of the Soul which can be way wiser than any adult and that one must also stop adults with wrongful behaviour/s.
I hope this helps! There is a lot more about Anger Management and Tantrums but this is the basic, most important foundation to it!
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