Tantrums/Whining/Power Struggles/Every day a Battle

“With our child, everything is a battle, whining, tantrums, she won’t eat breakfast, we dread the mornings. There are power struggles through the day, and sibling rivalry with her younger sister.

Then I get cross and raise my voice and send her to her room or the naughty step.”

Yet when I asked how they thought the child felt; they said they felt she was unhappy and they felt sorry for her.  She always wanted to be ‘first’ (before her younger sister). They could see what they were doing was not working,  so they tried something different. Unconditional Love.

In other words; I may not like ‘this behaviour’- but I always love you. After a week of parents staying calm,  staying separate to the behaviour and trying to understand what’s happening for the child by showing her  kindness and compassion and understanding; they returned to me to day…
“Miraculous – me keeping calm; now I know it works. I see she wanted to be a baby and I showed understanding about that and responded kindly. I helped her dress seeing that she just wanted time with me. At the beginning of a tantrum, I smiled and with humour seemed to diffuse it. I have stopped getting wound up in and every little thing, I walk away and it doesn’t play out and escalate as before. I didn’t know how she felt before – punished and isolated – just meant that her behaviour was getting worse and she felt ‘bad’ – now she feels loved and her behaviour mirrors that.”
•  If all behaviour makes sense, what is going on for my child?
•  Is my child’s behaviour a cry for help?
•  Am I able to receive my child’s feelings?
What’s the best way to deal with a tantrum by my child?

Children’s Tantrums are either about frustration or attention seeking. A parent’s behaviour will either reduce or escalate the situation. Although it’s hard to keep your cool, if you are calm; it may sort it out, if you ‘lose it’ it will make it worse and increase the incidence of it. Distraction works with the younger child. Therefore;

•  Press the PAUSE button (deal with it later)
•  “I’m not responding till you calm down”
• They may pursue you; but stay separate and don’t personalise
•  A ‘No’ need be firm but not cross; consistent; predictable
•  Give the child a choice and ‘if you choose to continue; you’re choosing to leave’(shop)
•  As soon as the tantrums over, give the child a hug and later talk about the behaviour you found difficult and get in touch with the ‘why’ of the behaviour

Child reacting badly to Naughty Step

A couple attending my Parenting Class said the mistake they had made was reading too many parenting books! They used the naughty step (Supernanny’s concept) and their toddler’s behaviour had deteriorated quite dramatically.
Ask yourself “if I were 3 years old; how would I feel sent out to the Naughty Step?” The words the class give me are “Rejected, Unloved, Bad, Confused, Angry etc”

How would some Time In make your 3 year old self feel?
Time In gives attention to the feeling that underlies behaviour by reflection
Time In acknowledges the feeling & allows the child to manage & verbalise her feelings

Parents have said when they acknowledge their Childs feeling, accept how they feel, allow them to express it, the child quickly adapts, I may need to say “I love you, but that was a naughty thing to do”, but if the parent is calm (even if the child has a short meltdown), the parent role models how to behave and the child learn to manage their feelings through expression “say it in words; not actions” “I hear you are angry; when you calm down, we can talk”. For more, check out this video.

Power struggles-pull out
The mum found when she observed her own reactions; she gave the child a chance to:
1.  Express how she felt
2.  The child had a sense of being listened to by Mum
3.  Mum accepted how her child felt and gave her a sense of being understood
4.  It did not turn into a power struggle as Mum’s interaction was better and child just need to ‘express her  feelings and to feel heard’.

Teen’s abusive texts to Mum

Where does Respect start? With the parent; therefore I have a choice “I do not respond when spoken to like that; when you choose to speak to me respectfully, I will respond”. Always important to remember not to personalise your teen’s behaviour; everything she says, does, thinks and feels is about her, what’s going on for her and where she is at. Remember it’s a ‘phase’!!!!