Who knows what the real root of an emotional upset for a child is? We often only witness the meltdown, the tears, the tantrum, the protest.
But – one thing we can always be sure of – there is a reason.
I think if we can hold on to that reminder when our children are out of sorts and acting out, that they are doing just that – “acting out” the very feelings they cannot express in words.
A mom told me last week that her young son was so upset and emotional when she chose “pants with a button” for him to wear to school. But he had his reasons, legitimate to him. When she listened and realized why – her reassuring response was, “Well, let’s just wear a different pair of pants”.
Often, though, we go directly to the fear in us that our child is becoming a tyrant, spoiled, a brat and we must show him who’s boss. And it is that fear we feel that comes out in our own angry response or our own determination to stand our ground and win, no matter what.
Of course, often it is necessary to stand our ground, but it doesn’t have to be in a matched defensive way. We can acknowledge our child’s reasons, even as we follow through with what needs to be done.
Because, don’t we all just want to be heard, to be understood, to have our feelings recognized?
So … try and go to the feelings first when dealing with an upset child – then to the fact – that your child does still need to comply, even though you understand and can empathize with him.
And when there’s those “pants with a button” situations, we can make it easy – “let’s just wear another pair!”
If your child is having upsets that you are struggling with, give me a call at The Parenting Place for a warm line talk – 784-8125 or make an appointment to come in for a one-on-one conversation to problem solve together.