I have a new post up at mom.me. It begins like this:
I recently wrote about why we should be grateful when our little ones throw a tantrum. But aside from understanding that a tantrum is normal and even healthy, what else can we do when we’re actually in this kind of high-stress moment with our kids? I don’t believe parents should ignore a tantrum. When children are truly out of control, that’s when they need us the most. We still need to set clear boundaries, but our response should always be full of love, respect and patience.
Here are seven suggestions for dealing with a toddler’s tantrum:
Few experiences any of us undergo are as transformative as parenting. By definition, parenting is about transformation. One of our most important jobs as parents is to witness and influence the evolution of our children from wrinkly newborns with raw nervous systems into integrated, whole humans who know who they are and how to be in the world. And parenting obviously transforms us as well. There are smaller transformations—we learn to do most things “one-handed” while carrying a baby on our hip; we begin to eat at McDonalds; we memorize the names of dinosaurs; we learn to play video games again; we even buy a mini-van (which for some is a bigger transformation than for others). And there are huge, life-changing transformations—we adjust our priorities; we make sacrifices that cost us greatly; we learn to live with worrying and “what ifs”; we forever expand our hearts.
Along the way, we become more creative than we ever knew possible. I’m not talking about the creativity of artists, song-writers, or novelists. I’m talking about the creativity that’s required for survival for anyone caring for children. I knew I’d been forever transformed by my role as a parent when, in my attempt to get through to my non-compliant little streakers, creativity sprung forth from desperation and I made up a song with a chorus that began, “No naked butts on the furniture.” (Unfortunately, it was so catchy that one day I actually Continue Reading »
What we say to our kids is important, right? The words we choose play a big role as children construct their beliefs about themselves, establish a foundation for their values, and decide how they see the world. What we say matters.
That’s why we’re used to filtering what we say to or in front of our kids. Sometimes we have an internal dialogue that might include phrases like, “You’re driving me crazy, kid!” or “Are you EVER going to stop crying?” or “I can’t wait until you go to sleep!”; but we know not to say these things out loud to our kids. We’re also aware that we should avoid talking about inappropriate subjects in front of our kids, so we wait until they’re asleep before we tell our spouse about how our neighbor’s house was robbed or about the latest community scandal.
We pause and make a decision about what we say before we share things with our children. We do this because we know that what we say matters and has an impact on them.
But just as important as what we say is how we say it. Imagine that your three-year-old isn’t getting into her carseat. Here are a few different how’s for saying the exact same what:
When your child needs to be disciplined, how do you decide what to do? Do you decide, or are you just going with what you always do? Are you disciplining on auto-pilot? Most of the time, when we need to discipline, the first question we ask ourselves is “What consequence should I give?” Instead, I’d like to encourage you to begin asking three different questions:
1. Why did my child act this way? If we look deeper at what’s going on behind the behavior, we can often understand that Continue Reading »
Today, I want to challenge you to watch your children with new eyes. Look at them as the marvelous creations they are. You can even try to observe them as if you’ve never seen them before (I don’t mean ignoring them when they are screaming “MOMMY!” and you act like you don’t know who’s children they are.) I mean you see them as if you’ve never marveled at such amazing creatures. Even if they’re fighting today, Continue Reading »