When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it's our job to share our calm, not join their chaos. - L.R. Knost
It can be SO HARD to not get caught up in your kiddo’s chaos, especially when they (or you) are having a hard day. Real talk from Lindsay here, my daughter had a brutal day while working on cutting another tooth and I wondered to myself how she could possibly whine and cry for another minute of our day. It. was. ROUGH. And internally, I was ready to rip my hair out. When your attempts at getting your child back on the rails only end up in them flying right back off the rails, it can be incredibly draining and hard to push past.
On those days, in the midst of the tantrums and the crying, I repeat this little mantra I read back on The Wonder Weeks months and months ago “my daughter is HAVING a hard time, she is not GIVING ME a hard time”. Trust me, simply rephrasing her difficulty in a way that takes ownership/guilt/blame away from BOTH of us can be all I need in order to then take a deep breath and ride the wave, providing whatever support I can give her during her hard time.
A lot of the parent and family support that we provide is in guiding families in navigating difficult behaviors in a way that they feel comfortable and confident in how they are handling the behavior, but that is also effective in treating the behavior so that their child is being encouraged to use the functional and communication skills that they have. This is HARD work. And I understand how badly you want to listen to that little voice sometimes that says "just give in so this can be over and we can move on!!".
But I probably don't need to tell you that when you give in, that actually makes the behavior WORSE starting with the very next instance that they want to use that behavior. Because you gave them knowledge that at some point, if they push this behavior hard/loud/long enough, you will cave. So they will try - again and again and again, to make that behavior work for them. Since that's what kids do.
So in that next moment when your kiddo is having a hard time, I challenge you to find a little mantra that works for you (you can steal mine!), chant it a couple times in your head, take a deep breath, and ride out the behavior together - knowing that you are helping your kiddo develop that emotional regulation that they so badly need. And then visualize that treat you're going to give yourself when you've successfully made it to bedtime.
Stay strong out there parents! Let us know your burning questions in the comments, and we've got some great parent training workshops in the works that we will be sharing about soon!