All of my children are very strong willed, I think that is both a strength and a weakness because it isn’t necessarily a good thing for dealing with others and for learning how to compromise. The impact of this though is that I often find myself challenged in all manner of ways from what they want to eat, which books we should read at bedtime to issues relating to clothing and school.
As I want to set my children a good example, it means that when I’m being screamed at or there is point blank refusal I have to try really hard not to lose my temper and shout. Sometimes I manage to do this and sometimes I don’t. However, one of the things that people always say is how calm I seem even at the most challenging moments. Even when i’m raging internally I’ve managed to maintain a calm approach. I struggle with anxiety, I question my parenting on a daily basis but one thing I am proud of is this calm approach to challenges.
Today was one of those days. We had bought little Ned some new shoes, he choose them himself and although we had them fitted he could pick any pair he wanted in the shop. He was very happy and proud of them all weekend. Yet today when it came to going to school he point blank refused to wear them. I had to decide what to do and I thought that really he should wear his brand new shoes instead of ones with holes in so that was what happened. This resulted in a tantrum all the way from home to school and beyond. Strong willed eh?
Rather than losing it, or losing the will to live, I thought I would simply just ignore the tantrum and try to carry on as normal. I didn’t raise my voice and when he refused to move I simply picked him up. This was very challenging but ultimately I think its the right thing to do. It provides the child with a way out, a chance to stop without repercussions and it also means that they don’t achieve anything from behaving this way. This is a skill that I learnt when I realised that my eldest was using breath holding as a way of manipulating situations and its helped me in some of the hardest moments.
I think there are a few things to consider to help you achieve calm in your parenting:
- A sense of humour. Many of these incidents are actually very amusing, its hard not to laugh but probably best not to outright. If you can see the funny side of what has happened that completely prevents any loss of temper.
- Maintain the ‘this will pass’ sense of perspective. Things change, children challenge. Its a phase and a circumstance.
- Maintain a good dialogue with all your children and then when situations arise I find the other children help me to deal with them.
- Consider the worst case scenario. This wont be it.
- Don’t reward anger with anger, this fuels the situation.
- Reason, but not too much. Repeat your stance clearly and in an appropriate manner and carry it out if it is the right thing to do regardless of what is being presented.
- Remember that you are the adult and its your duty to parent. You are not your child’s friend, however it is best to do this in as calm and controlled manner as you can.
- Enjoy these tantrums as a moment of childhood and nothing more. They are another aspect of your child’s personality and an important part of growing up and learning.
- Teach your children that inner peace and calm come from within by demonstrating that you can maintain your calm in even the most challenging circumstances.
Do you have any strategies and tips for dealing with tantrums whilst maintaining that inner calm? If so, please post them below I’d love to hear!