They aren’t registering anything when they’re emotional and ESPECIALLY not when they’re afraid. Forcing a child sit through a lecture or punishment when they’ve expressed their fear or is actively experiencing big emotions only teaches them to suppress and ignore their emotions because they’re wrong. When has someone telling you “it’s not that major” or “what you should be/need to be doing is” helped you get past an emotional situation?? NEVER! You immediately know that you’ll never open up to that person again and you try and keep yourself from losing your shit on them lol. You freely open up to those who express understanding and empathy for where you are emotionally and so children are the same!
Hold space for the emotion and support them in love through it. When you get annoyed/frustrated/emotional, SHOW them in THAT moment how they should deal with their feelings. You’ll most times find that you have no clue how to calm your own self down when you have big emotions. 🤯 This can be scary and cause even bigger emotions because just like your child, you weren’t taught how to manage big emotions either so you throw a tantrum by enforcing your authority and lashing out or silencing them because you don’t know what else to do.(we’ll discuss this in a later post and in depth on patreon)
YES my negus! We legit be throwing tantrums with our children cause we’on(we don’t) know how to handle their emotions or our own! Yet we expect them to know how. 🙄
Adults throw tantrums all the time. Any time a person can’t cope with big emotions or is unable to calm themselves down, they throw verbal or physical tantrums.. sometimes both. You know, stuff we as black people have accepted as normal like yelling, cursing, slamming doors, kicking or throwing stuff. And then we dress it up cute and call it “blowing off steam”, “being over stressed”, or “being pushed too far”. When honestly, if boils down to it being uncontrolled outbursts of frustration-BIG ASS TANTRUM!
I remember before I had children, I’d see a child having big emotions in public and say “Ooooweee couldn’t be me! They ain’t got no control over that child”. 😬🤢🤮 Because lacking “control” over your child has never been good in black families.
Now, with my evolved mind, I realize that having control over a child, or any human for that matter, is the furthest thing opposite from a productive and healthy relationship. It isn’t my goal to have control over my children. To control is to silence. To silence is to enslave. To enslave means you ruin the trust and ultimately the relationship.
The moment you break your child’s trust, they no longer consider you a resource of information which means, you’ve lost all influence in their life. When they’re having a tough time, or need guidance, you won’t know. They’ll talk to their friends who know nothing more than they do about life or find another adult to reach out to and you’d better hope that adult has pure intentions.
The next time your child is having big emotions, mirror the emotion and name the emotion for them. Imagine how you’d feel in the situation and show them you relate and understand. We won’t even get to diffusing the situation yet because I don’t want you to do like i did which was use gentle tools with the goal of controlling the child and stopping the tears as fast as possible while still neglecting the emotion itself. The purpose of this all is to validate their emotions, support them through them and provide them tools that they can use as they grow older to manage their emotions. Again, validate the emotion, support them through, give them tools.
Eli: Screaming crying because he doesn’t want to go to sleep(as an adult it’s hard to not use our logic and think that it’s completely insane to be crying about this because he goes to bed EVERY NIGHT at the SAME TIME 🤦🏽♀️🤣)
Me: Oh you are sooo sad and frustrated Eli!
Eli: Peeks at me like(oh dang you noticed? Wow! Okay let me show you just how much) SCREAMS LOUDER
Me: It is sooo frustrating to have to stop playing with all of your toys to do something as boring as going to sleep.
Eli: Still crying.. yeaaaa. I don’t wanna go to bed(he feels heard so he’s communicating now)
Before moving on, (which I’ll be doing in a later blog post), it is EXTREMELY important that they feel heard(validated) NO MATTER how silly it may seem to us as logical adults, for them, this is MAJOR and they need you to assist them in finding words to express themselves as well as providing the example on how to get through it.
Take some time to try it out! Just letting your child know that they are supported and heard builds a much deeper trusting bond in and of itself. We’ll get to the moving through later, but first, let’s practice hearing them without any outcome or goal.
I hope this helps! Let me know your experience with this below and/or email questions for help with specific situations to firstname.lastname@example.org 💚