As I sit here watching my perpetually better half ( he thinks so – its been ruled out that its a perception he lives in) wrap his arms around my kid and they happily monkey around, I also wonder how long these moments will last. Kids have an array of moods and emotions that tend to fluctuate with every passing minute. As parents we seldom fail to acknowledge the mood swings, the confusion and the bubbles of many feelings that engulf our little children. We begin expecting them to behave in a way that has been ruled out as the right way by us or by the peripherals of the society.
As a parent and an educator I have been a part of or initiated conversations that revolve around children behaviors, moods and their “tantrums”. A tantrum is referred to as an uncontrolled outburst of anger or frustration. Have we ever attempted to help our kids control this outburst rather than expecting them to stop it almost like switching on/off a button.
Less as a parent and more as an educator who has observed various patterns of behavior in more than one child, I can safely say that there are a few golden rules to help your child unlock the mysteries of growing up and win a face off with emotions.
Be prepared– As a new parent or parent with trophy years, you need to be prepared for mood swings through the day. As adults we tend to loose our cool with change in our routine or a delay to it, kids to when switching over from one activity to another may find the smallest of change overwhelming. It is best to make the transition smoother by taking it one day at a time.
Choose what you need to combat – We live in a world where we are constantly wondering whether to be a yes parent or a no parent. If your child gets to hear a certain commandment from you multiple times a day, it would loose its worth.So choose where you need to say yes and where you need to say no. Surprise them with your Yeses and Nos, just the way they surprise you.
Distract and Attack – That’s one of the golden rules of any game, you need to distract your opponent and play your move. We all probably do that everyday but we will have to continue doing it on a loop to maintain sanity.If you are asking your child to not play with a certain thing, you may have to multiple times hand another toy to your child and keep the other one away.
Demonstrate – Kids learn the best by observing. So you will always have to demonstrate the behavior you want them to practice. You will have to have calm conversations with your child if you want him/her to stop yelling and getting angry.
Reverse Psychology – Our children always do the opposite of what we ask them to do. So seldom you will have to tell them the opposite of what you want them to do. Like the other day, my child did not want to finish his homework and he said he will not right so, I told him that’s fine by me and he actually shouldn’t be writing and should be taking his unfinished work to school.It worked, he finished his lessons sooner than I expected.
Keep it short and sweet – We all get bored at long and lengthy sentences and so would kids. If you want them to listen, keep it short and sweet. If you try and explain reasons when they are upset, they will never listen. Use shorter sentences that grab their attention.
Acknowledge – I always remember a person who acknowledges my feelings. Kids emotions need to be acknowledged always. They need to be made to feel that their feelings are real too and someone does understand how they feel. When going through an outburst, acknowledge their emotions and offer them choices of things that will make them feel better.
Don’t fear being a party popper – We all want to be the good parent however don’t always give in to avoid a showdown.You need to act immediately to the situation sometimes and stay put in your opinion.
Don’t Yell – This one is pretty simple.You don’t like being yelled at and neither would they.You can be assertive and firm but not yell
Appreciate – We all crave for attention and appreciation. I wonder who said fame was a myth. Kids will do almost anything to get your attention, you are after all the only people in circle of trust. Hence always acknowledge their presence and if you are busy buy some time from them.Children don’t expect rewards for appreciation ( it happens only when they are older and understand money) only a few words of love and appreciation will melt their heart and emotions faster than an ice-cream.
Don’t Hit or Spank – Hitting your child let’s them believe they could use it on someone too. SO always follow a “no hitting” rule in your house.
Change your approach – A standard approach may not always work. What you did with you child when they were a year old may not have the same effect when they are three years.Hence its better to always improvise your strategies just like manufacturers bring in new products to lure its customers.
Do not bribe or negotiate – Well, it seems like the easiest thing to do, to get your child listen to you but avoid it as much as you can. Their good behavior needs to be organic and not filled with pesticides and artificial products.
Timeouts do work – As adults we ask people to walk away from a situation that isn’t happy or to revisit it after a while. Definitely, as parents we cannot and mustn’t walk away from our children when they are battling their feelings but you can always use a time out to let them know that they need to get a grip on their feelings. You could use the timeout yourself to calm yourself and handle the situation more efficiently.
Express your love always – I recently read somewhere that kids need about twelve hugs a day to keep them in their best spirits. Even when your child is not having a meltdown, let them know you are always there for them and you love them because love and care is all they need.
One other thing that I always try and practice is to unwind from everything for a few minutes a day which helps me charge myself up to be able to handle the daunting task of parenting. You could unwind by reading a book, listening to music, watching Netflix, going for a walk or simply enjoying an activity with your child!!