Tantrums are tough on kids. Keeping emotions in check as the bonafide grownup can be even tougher. Fits of rage can make a child seem crazy, like head-spinning crazy and downright possessed. An angry child can send even the most zen parent down a deep dark hole of frustration.
Looking in that scary mommy mirror, I am 100 percent guilty of joining the crazy rather than being a port in the storm. But, there is help! Renee Jain, MAPP at PsychCentral offers some great suggestions following a ‘say this, not that’ guide.
It boils down to validating your child’s feelings, giving them space to communicate and ultimately helping them feel safe. This can be almost impossible when you are drowning in irrational soup, but kids need to know their feelings matter. With some simple tweaks, I’m looking forward to a calmer future and maybe you can, too.
1. Instead of: Stop throwing things!
Try this: When you throw your toys, I think you don’t like playing with them. Is that what’s going on?
2. Instead of: Big kids don’t do this!
Try this: Big kids and even grown-ups sometimes have big feelings. It’s OK, these feeling will pass.
3. Instead of: Don’t you dare hit!
Try this: It’s OK to be angry, but I won’t let you hit. We need to keep everyone safe.
4. Instead of: You’re being so difficult!
Try this: This is a tough one, huh? We’re going to figure this out together.
5. Instead of: That’s it, you’re getting a time out!
Try this: Let’s go to our calm down space together.
6. Instead of: Brush your teeth right now!
Try this: Do you want to brush Elmo’s teeth first or yours?
7. Instead of: Eat your food or you will go to bed hungry!
Try this: What can we do to make this food yummy?
8. Instead of: Your room is disgusting! You are grounded unless this gets clean.
Try this: How about we just start cleaning this itty-bitty corner of your room? I’ll give you a hand.
9. Instead of: We. Are. LEAVING!
Try this: What do you need to do to be ready to leave?
10. Instead of: Stop whining!
Try this: How about a quick “do over” in your normal voice?