by SARA AHMAD
Learn to not get sucked into your child's displays of anger
and instead stay loving and positive
If you have kids anywhere above the age of two and a half, then you are an experienced witness of meltdowns and tantrums. You may somewhat shamefully recall that you have also been a participant in a fair number of these and had a few of your own, too. You may have noticed that responding to anger with more anger does not work, nor does it feel good. Try responding to your child's anger with love instead.
Why A Meltdown
There are many ways in which a child can feel helpless and out of control. After all, he really is not in charge in most matters pertaining to his life; we are. Younger children can feel frustrated with not being able to do certain things for themselves, such as tying their own laces or buttoning up their shirt. It results in intense frustration and then he explodes in a tantrum.
Learning to become aware of their feelings and how to express them can help kids to manage their anger better. But children won't do this if they are throwing a tantrum because they have learnt from past experience that tantrums work as an easy means to getting what they want out of you.
Model Good Behaviour
If we expect our kids to behave well, we simply have to model good behaviour to them. Being human, we may slip and lose it at times. It is very important to discuss what happened late, when everyone is calm. This is so that your child sees that you accept that your own behaviour was not up to the mark and that you wish you had responded differently. He will also learn that it is not easy to not give in to the feeling of the moment. But we must keep trying.
Express Your Love
This is true for everyone, regardless of age. If you are feeling loved and appreciated, you are less likely to get angry and upset. Expressing your love to your child every single day is important. It helps to make them feel secure and builds their self esteem. It makes them feel happy and therefore the chances of meltdowns decrease.
Fill Your Child's Love Tank
A child's emotional love tank has to be kept topped up. When that love tank is full, the child is under no pressure to display his unhappiness by asking, through his behaviour.
Help Him Identify What's Making Him Unhappy
When your child begins a meltdown, verbally acknowledge how he's feeling. You're feeling angry and the anger is making you scream and disturb others. But screaming will not solve the problem, so let's figure out what else we can do. Some kids will allow you to touch them when they are very upset and others may not. Hugging your upset child is a good thing to do. It does not mean that you are condoning their behaviour, it only means you recognise that their love tank is not full. You can discuss what you thought of their behaviour later on. Your child needs to know that you may not like his behaviour at times, but you
do like and love him all the time.
Here are some things your child can do when she begins to get angry
· Think of a happy memory or peaceful place.
· Walk away.
· Listen to music.
· Spend time in a quiet corner till she feels better.
· Draw a picture of her anger or anything else.
· Run a lap or do any other exercise.
· Take 10 deep breaths.
· Count to 10, or 20 or 30… keep counting till she feels calmer.
· Give or get a hug.
· Read a book.
Keep a watch out for the things that act as triggers for your child's outbursts. If you know what sort of situations rub him the wrong way, you can try to avert them. You can also familiarise him with these triggers by talking about the things that can upset him and mention some things that upset you, too.
Finding Ways To Deal With Anger
Talk to your child about the times when you have been extremely angry about something or with someone and what you did to deal with it. Maybe you were aware of your angry feeling and you said to yourself that even though I'm feeling this way and I want to scream and shout and hit something, I'll take 10 deep breaths first. Tell your child how that simple thing helped you feel better. You can also say that it helps to share your feelings with someone you love. Talking about negative feelings can help you to change the bad feeling and feel good.
Practice Positive Reinforcement
Praise your child every time you see him able to deal with his anger or upset feelings in constructive, acceptable way. While it is important that your child knows that it's normal to get angry and to have the need to express angry, it has to be done in a way that does not harm anyone. But this is a difficult lesson for a child, or even an adult to learn. So, appreciating your child for managing his anger well makes a lot of sense.
If you tend to get upset easily with your child, it may help you to visualise a situation where you are upset and then see yourself making an effort to control your feelings and respond with love and compassion instead. Think of all the various ways in which you can respond kindly and with love, without losing your own cool at all. And the next time you find yourself in a challenging situation with your child, you may find yourself able to make the leap from anger to love.