It’s often said that emotional outbursts are a call to ‘teach them a lesson’, but there is no lesson to be taught when the child is in such a state.
Why an authoritarian approach doesn’t work.
There are myriad reasons why punishment is counteractive, the most important being that it takes away the child’s authority over her own life; an upset child is displaced. It’s often said that emotional outbursts are a call to ‘teach them a lesson’, but there is no lesson to be taught when the child is in such a state. Yes, the child will learn from the situation, but it is somewhat futile to try and teach her anything in the moment. When a child’s brain moves into a state of emotional upheaval, the information you’re trying to send her will simply not register. The danger is that this will cause even more frustration with the parent and then you’ve hit a never-ending spiral of punitive parenting.
Allowing the child the time and space required to go through this process will help her to develop healthy responses to frustration.
Why does my child have these big emotions?
Anger and sadness are a natural response to feelings of futility. Futility is some- thing we encounter as human beings when our limits are reached, physically or socially, and our ways of coping with it is very important in our development. After a child perceives something as futile (she can’t have a candy), she will feel frustrated, then angry, then sad. After sadness comes acceptance. Allowing the child the time and space required to go through this process will help her to develop healthy responses to frustration.
8 things you can do to help an upset child
Get down to their level • getting on an equal level eases the big adult/small child discomfort and will make both parties feel more equal. It’s also harder to be angry and punitive when you’re on your knees.
Look them in the eyes • making eye contact can be a good way to ground yourself and to get rid of your stress. The child can connect with you and know he is loved. Not all children feel able making eye contact when upset so be sure to be respectful of each child’s capabilities.
Written exclusively for The Goodness Magazine By Laura Schuerwegen from Authentic Parenting.
Enjoy reading the rest of this article – in the
August 2014 Issue of Healthy Mama Magazine (formally The Goodness Magazine) including:
– 8 peaceful ways to deal with a ‘tantrum’, and
– How to deal with YOUR unique situation