22″But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forebearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,
23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” Galatians 5: 22-23
In this simple passage, we find such good rules for raising children. It reminds us, as adults, to keep our emotions in check and to lead with patience, and love and to be faithful and have self-control. We have to remember, we have been practicing these qualities for years. Our young children are still learning and their emotions need to count. Each and every one.
Young children express themselves with enthusiasm and sometimes reckless abandon. What is certain is their expressions of happiness, kindess and joy cause us to smile, while thier frustrations and projections of anger leave us sometimes stumped and stunned. These moments give us the opportunity to model self-control and patience.
When you find your young children expressing anger, there may be a physical display of force attached. You may see screaming paired with kicking, biting, hitting, scratching or spitting. Children may not have the language skills to release these emotions verbally.They are still expressing themselves by “doing” and not yet by speaking.
If this happens, let them know you can see they are angry–validate the action. Move them to a safe place to get those emotions out– and separate yourself. These are their emotions and you are teaching them to self-soothe. Fair warning, they may bounce off the “thinking pillow” and follow you. Pick them up, make no eye contact and put them back in their safe space for expressing big emotions. This may take a good amount of time, but you are teaching, so invest the time up front. It avoids a confusing message later and soon enough they will understand where they are to go when they are overly frustrated.
When the anger gives way to catching a breath and screams turn to gasping sobs or tears, this is the exact moment to step back in. Scoop them up and validate again–“Wow, I could see you were really upset. ” Once they have calmed down, you now have the space and the time to talk about what happened. It’s a teaching moment and you can help them think of better choices next time.
It’s so important to remember that children do not wake up in the morning with the intention of ruining your day or theirs. When tantrums occur, your role is to help them learn to calm their bodies, calm their voices, and calm their emotions so they can get back to the job of playing!
Hope this gives you a peek into handling tantrums. If you need support, I would be delighted to coach you. Send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great day.