Posts tagged ‘“tantrum”’

even this

All feelings are acceptable, and there is so much for us to learn about our children when we can understand how they feel. But here’s the thing… if you want your child to express how he, or she, is feeling… you, as the parent, must make it safe for them to do so.

Here are six ways to create an environment in which your kid will want to tell you about his/her feelings.

1. It is not “o.k”

Stop saying, you’re okay! It’s okay. It’s going to be okay. If you find yourself saying this, it is because your child is not okay with something. If they are upset, it is a disservice to them to tell them, instead, that they are not upset, that they are okay.

Scenario: Boy falls and scrapes his knee.

Mom says: You’re okay! It’s just a little scrape! See, no blood. You’re okay.

Although Mom is trying to be comforting, she is also making it clear that she is in charge of how the boy feels. This is both untrue and insulting.

Instead mom can say: Oh you fell! How are you?

2. Prompting

Stop prompting your child as to how they should feel. It is common for a parent to be in the background indicating to a child that they should smile! be pleased! when given a present or compliment, demonstrating the “appropriate” feeling for the occasion.

Instead, try a more neutral facial expression and wait to see how your child actually feels about a situation.

3. Shushing

It’s perfectly normal for humans to be upset, and cry, even sob and wail. Stop saying: ssssshhhhhhh, sssssshhhhhhhh to help a child stop crying. Make no effort, verbal or otherwise, to stop a child from crying as this only indicates to them that these strong feelings are not acceptable.

Instead, hold them and give them empathy- oh you are so sad about that. If they are too loud for the surroundings, then remove them from the environment without it feeling like a punishment. Give them all the time they need to feel their sadness and let it out.

4. Name calling

Do not give your child names for expressing their emotions no matter how annoying, to you, these expressions may be, or even if the names are “harmless” or cute.

Henry stop being such a whiner! I told you dinner wasn’t ready yet. If you’d leave me alone instead of whining at me I’d have it done already!

Instead: Henry I know you are hungry. You’re frustrated dinner is taking so long. I’m trying my hardest to hurry, but I am pretty distracted by talking to you about when dinner will be ready. I think if you found an activity to do time would pass more quickly and I would be able to concentrate better and get it done faster.


You silly goose! Pants are for your legs not your head! You’re such a silly goose.

Instead: Are you making a joke? Pants usually go on your legs not your head right!? That’s so funny!

5. Lauding

If you value one emotion over another, your child will quickly understand that some feelings are worthy of praise and others should be avoided.

You were so brave at the dentist today! You didn’t even cry one bit! I am so proud of you!

Instead: What did you think of the dentist today? How was it for you?

6. Judging

Watch for subtle clues you give that show judgement. Do you roll your eyes when telling your girlfriend about the meltdown over the sippy cup? These hints of your displeasure are not invisible.

7. Expressing yourself

Do not hide what you are feeling.

Oh, Mama’s fine honey. I know I was crying but it’s nothing. Did you finish the t.v. show? Are you hungry?

Instead: Yeah I am crying. I feel sad. It’s not for you to worry about honey, it’s for the grown-ups to worry about. I’m sad but I’m still your mama and I can take care of you even if I’m sad.

Let your own feelings be known. There is no need to tell your child all the details of your personal life or financial situation, but you can express your true feelings. Model what you’d like to see from them.


December 7, 2009 at 1:22 am 4 comments

baby lizard incites tazmanian devil


Here is the scene:  Xi has a fever and is watching a movie,  Nathan and I are analyzing something in the kitchen, and Echo is to-and-fro-ing with chatter and various props. She returns from a foray delighted with a baby lizard wrapped in a blanket.


“Mama can you help me redo this sling for my baby?”

“Sure, how’s this?”

“Yeah that’s good…..NOOOO!!! That’s too strong on my back!”

“O.K….., how’s this?”

“NO! That’s not right! WAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!”, and falls to the ground.

I think: uh oh, and glance at the clock- 7:50pm.

Papa chimes in (yeah for papas!):

“Coco, how about something more like a belt to wrap the baby?”

Pops right up, tears dry instantly, “Yeah! A belt! That’s a good idea! That will work!”

I think: phew, close one!

I use a tiny strip of fabric to wrap that plastic lizard expertly, perfectly, strapping it securely around Echo’s little chest. But…

(I wish I had larger type for her response.)

“NOOOOO!!!!!!!! That’s too BIG! No, No, NO!!!!! WAAAAAAAAHHHHH!”

Too big? oh dear

She rips the lizard off. I reach for her, she reaches for me, but her reach turns into a rhino charge that then pirouettes onto the floor. She is a screaming, writhing, TAZMANIAN DEVIL. She is literally a blur. I lean in to comfort her and she screeches. Nathan turns to look at her, and she screeches. This lasts for a while and we’re at a loss.

And then, risking my life, I scoop her up. She twists and wails, and I say:

“I’m just going to try this out.”

I walk toward the bedroom.

“I don’t want to go to sleep!!!!!!!!”

“You don’t? Even when we go in here…. and turn down the shades?”


“Even when we close the door?”


“Even when we get under these cozy covers?”

“Yeah I do want to.”

nurse, nurse, zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

I lay there with her and thought smugly: mother knows best ( and I thought it in a sticky, sweet, preachy, kind of voice). And then I silently LAUGHED and LAUGHED and LAUGHED. I do not!  Most often we use that phrase to justify a controlling act. Sure I had some evidence to back up the sleepy verdict but let’s face it; I was just plain old lucky.

I have returned from that same bedroom holding a very sleepy, but very not asleep child, too many times to get smug. It doesn’t matter how sleepy I think she is, or how much I think I know that she needs to go to sleep, if she isn’t ready she isn’t ready. Tonight I walked toward that bedroom with a good idea, and  an open mind, fully prepared to return the tazmanian devil to the awake world. But as it turns out, she was ready, and nobody lost an eyeball.


October 29, 2009 at 5:03 am 3 comments

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