We all have them, sometimes they last longer than other times. Maybe there has just been too much change and your child is having trouble coping. Maybe they are starting school, or moving schools. Maybe you cut their toast in triangles instead of squares. Regardless of how we all got here, you are having a hard time with your child and just want it to STOP.
Often our first reaction, our mindset is to wish it away. As parents and carers we are often quick to jump in and want to “fix” things for our children. We tell our kids to stop crying, or to not be sad. We say things like, “Don’t worry” or “I will do it”. We also say things to ourselves like “This is awful.. When will it end”.
This is normal, this is human.
However what effect does it have on our kids? And on ourselves? Are we missing something?
More often than not, it is the learning. And do you know what- we often do our best learning when it is active.
We can sit down with Johnny and discuss emotions and strategies, but if he never gets angry how will he learn to use them? With kids life is one big learning opportunity. So when things get hard, when you feel like you can’t go on. Remember that all these moments provide value.
And this does not mean JOHNNY learns to stop having meltdowns, it might mean YOU learn a new strategy to calm him. Maybe you learnt that you always have to have a fully charge iPad when you leave the house. Maybe you learnt that people in the community can be incredibly kind (or not..!)
At the end of the day there is never one correct way to handle a situation with your child. The way you respond should depend on
1) The situation
2) Your mood
3) Your child’s mood
4) Where you are
5) How much time you have
6) How angry the child is, what they can comprehend
7) Your child’s age and cognitive abilities
8) Insert many more factors
But do not let this list overwhelm you. The only thing you can do is your best. Do your best to help calm the situation. Do your best to see things from your child’s point of view. And do you best to do whatever you need to do, to get through the hard times.
You see the “hard” times are needed. They are so important, for you and your child. These challenges provide incredible learning opportunities. They create opportunities for discussion. They create opportunities for growth. They provide an opportunity to teach your kids that EMOTIONS ARE OK.. Which is so important.
And remember, these benefits are not restricted to your child- it includes learning and growing as a parent/carer.
So do your best in these moment. But if you don’t that is also ok. You can only ever do your best. Forgive yourself in the not-so-great moments, learn from them and adapt.
Until next time,