Things can get pretty noisy with kids around. Sometimes it feels downright unbearable to us when our child’s emotions are like a runaway train. The yelling, the screaming. What’s a parent to do?
Do You Scream Back?
Do you ever chime in with the screaming chorus? Sometimes it seems as if this is the only way to get our kids back on track. But is it, really?
1. First, we have missed a golden opportunity to help our child learn how to self-regulate and manage over the top feelings.
2. We have just reinforced that behavior by providing an emotional fireworks display of our own.
Remember that a child who is drunk on emotion is not going out of his way to inconvenience you, but rather, is asking you for assistance. Don’t personalize!
What Will the Neighbors Think?
Worried what the neighbors might think when they hear your child screaming at earth shattering decibels? What do you suppose they think when they hear BOTH your child AND you falling apart at the seams?
Children scream and yell because they do not have full control of their emotions. Staying calm is a skill that takes time to master..and modeling from adults who already know how to do it. Remaining calm when our child is anything but, isn’t always easy, but it is always possible.
From a technical perspective, our prefrontal cortex (highest thinking part of our brain) mediates the limbic system (the seat of the emotions)…and helps us control otherwise “out-of-control” feelings. It takes a lot of physical development and a big learning curve to become fully in control of our emotions. This task is even bigger for kids who enjoy intense temperaments.
It’s Not Personal
When we bear in mind that our child is not yelling, screaming or exploding to make our day miserable, we have a much better chance of responding more calmly. Recognizing that our kids need our help to learn the skill of managing BIG emotions puts us squarely back in our child’s corner…right where we belong.
All is Not Lost
Maybe you’re a parent who has resorted to screaming (and we all know how easy it is to do) in the past. Today is a new day. You can do it differently starting today. Sometimes we have to change our own behavior in order to help our kids change, too.
So what’s a parent to do? How can a parent rein in their own emotions when their child is pushing all of their buttons? The secret is changing what you think. When you change how you think, you change how you feel. And that makes all the difference. For your child and for you!
Rather than telling yourself things that sabotage your child and you, such as, “Here we go again!”, “I can’t stand this!”, and “This is going to be the death of me!”, try replacing those thoughts with a new mantra, “I can handle this!”, “This kid needs me to model calm!”, “Here’s my chance to help him deal with big emotions”.
Parents, keep calm and carry on! Know that you are in good company…emotional scenes that play out in your home are also playing out in homes across the country.
What will your mantra be the next time junior has a meltdown?
Calm Parenting Tip: When your child starts screaming, try to overcome your own emotional response. Rather than saying to yourself, “Here we go again! I can’t take this!”, try to say this instead, “He still needs my help in learning how to calm down. I’ll keep teaching him until he gets it on his own!”