I never doubt how much parents love their child even when they are struggling with constant battles and sharing tales of misbehavior, tantrums, hitting and throwing.
When parents find themselves at this point, they are desperately searching for an answer – for some help. Consequently I believe their child, at this point, is looking for the very same thing – an answer – even in the middle of an all-out tantrum, is looking for some help.
As parents we are encouraged to provide a relationship with our child that is warm and trusting and secure. But a relationship that has that security and trust and love also needs to have honesty and respect for and with each other. So from an early age, we need to be able to say “no thank you” when a child is throwing his food around, even while we empathize “I know you’re tired, but I won’t let you throw your food around”.
A limit is often what a child is looking for. “Stop me because I can’t stop myself.”
If we can keep the fear we have as parents, that our child is becoming a tyrant, a monster, an incorrigible brat, at bay, we can be the loving caregiver, the adult, the stronger of the two. And by stronger it doesn’t mean more forceful or more punitive, it means being able to say “I won’t let you…” , “No thank you”, “Not now”, while trusting in the loving relationship you both have.
Will your child still go into a melt-down, lie on the floor and scream? He probably might, but now you can be in a place where you are able to lovingly address his real need. Is he tired, overwhelmed, hungry, hot, frustrated?
And so the day continues – your little one knowing he can count on you- to sometimes stop him when he can’t stop himself – and say a firm but loving “no thank you”.