How do you react when your child is having a meltdown?
Let’s say that for whatever reason, you have to say “no” to your child, your child can’t have something, or get their way about something, etc.
No matter how small the issue seems to be, your child starts having a meltdown.
In this scenario, how would you react when your child is having a meltdown?
- Do you tell her that she’s not getting her way until she uses her words?
- Do you try to ignore the tantrum (but inside your blood begins to boil)?
- Do you send her to her room or calm-down spot until she calms down?
- Do you try and bargain with her to bring her out of it?
I’m telling you honestly that I have tried all of these and none of them have worked with my traumatized children. But I’ve discovered something that does work.
I’ve become a peaceful, connected parent who is intently child-focused during these tantrums.
What this may look like: I come close to my child, showing empathy for their disappointment. I may pick up my child, put my child in my lap, begin rocking and let them cry it out in my arms. At first, my child may fight that closeness or try to demand their way. But I won’t talk about the issue at all until my child stops crying, and is calm.
What this may look like to others: “You are rewarding your child for a tantrum.”
I’m not giving in. I’m giving comfort to my hurting child.
What others don’t realize is that when a child is having a meltdown, there is no negotiation, no “thinking about what you did” because a child simply can’t think during a tantrum. The child is in fear response and the thinking part of the brain is shut off by fear.
Only AFTER the tantrum, when the child is calm, do I revisit the issue, if needed. Sometimes we don’t have to revisit the issue because my child may just have needed to know that I understand the disappointment that they are experiencing.
Becoming a peaceful parent has totally transformed my relationship with my traumatized child!
Tantrums are fewer and go away quicker.
My attachment-challenged child has become extremely loving and desires closeness. He is more compliant, and will help me out when I ask. He tells me he loves me. He is happy!
What that has helped our family most is Dr. Laura Markham’s Peaceful Parent Happy Kids program.
Join me and other parents on a transformational journey to become peaceful, connected parents in Dr. Laura Markham’s online course beginning next week. Hurry signups end Thursday, April 6th.