Are Your Child's Meltdowns Melting YOU Down?
Can you recall a time you were having a problem with your child?
Perhaps a situation when you were both focused on an agenda — two completely different agendas, that is! (Yours being the more rational agenda, of course — I see you, parents!)
Maybe your particular struggle is sibling rivalry, breaking away from screens or just getting out of the house on time…maybe it’s ALL of these things!
Whatever struggle you're facing with your child, you do your best to handle it. But does it feel like you are just stuck in an endless loop of frustration and yelling with your child? If this sounds familiar, I’d like to tell you that this is totally normal and happens to ALL of us!
Nobody is perfect. Parenting is hard. Kids push all the right buttons at all the wrong times. And yet, there is hope!
If your child’s meltdowns are melting you down, I have a few thoughts and ideas for you.
Separate the problem from your child
Your child is not the problem, your child is having a problem. Brain development and sensory integration play a big role in your child’s meltdowns — keep in mind, tantrums are a totally normal part of development! Children don't have the life experience or tools to recognize, anticipate, manage and/or regulate big emotions that can lead to meltdowns.
When you separate the problem from your child, it’s easier to see yourselves as teammates ready to work towards solutions together.
Reframe your thoughts
Quick tip → The next time you're feeling frustrated with your child, try reframing your thoughts to a more positive mindset.
Why is this important?
When you shift your thoughts to a more positive outlook, you work within a growth mindset. Your brain becomes open to creative ideas and solutions rather than getting stuck in feelings of helplessness.
A positive mindset increases empathy and understanding towards others which can help strengthen your relationships. This practice will help you connect with your child.
And, perhaps most importantly, your words matter! They will become your child’s inner voice. Maintaining a positive outlook will encourage you to model words of hope and possibility for your child.
How do I start? Try these three steps:
1) Slow Down! Notice when your mind starts to percolate and engages in negative thoughts.
2) Pause! Is this an emergency or can you pause for a quick calming moment of self care and clarity?
3) Tap into Compassionate Self Talk! Be patient with yourself, you are breaking a cycle here! Can you think of something you would say to your best friend at this moment? What calming words would you want to hear from a friend?
You’ve got this!
Reframing your thoughts is not something that happens overnight, it's something that requires practice and dedication.
Reframing your thoughts is key to finding some clarity over tough moments. The goal isn’t perfection, it’s learning how to navigate tough situations as best you can. You don’t have control over your children, but you can control the way you see your children, your thoughts around your situation and the way you respond. What will you choose?
Rebecca Murphy, Certified PCI® Parent Coach.