Monday, April 5, 2021

The Emotional Roller Coaster of Parenting

Understanding Ourselves to Understand Them

Even on the best day, parenting can be challenging. You are juggling so many things and it can feel like your child’s mood and temperament is the one thing you just cannot figure out.
Situation: Your child is having a complete melt down, yelling and throwing their toys at you.
Expectation: What do you expect your child to do?
Your Response: What do you do in that moment?
Result: Does it soothe your child or does it increase the intensity of his meltdown?

It can be very easy to stop taking the child’s development into consideration when you are in that stressful moment, but thinking about what your child can and cannot do physically, emotionally, and cognitively is imperative to be able to support him or her.

Turning inward and reflecting: Do your expectations align with your child’s development or are they more so reflective of your own needs in that moment? It is hard to watch as a child becomes overwhelmed with anger, and so, many times adults understandably move impulsively to control the child. Anger in our children can stir up so many difficult feelings in us including, anxiety, anger, guilt, embarrassment, and even fear…which make us REACT.

Helping your child slow down and gifting them with compassion and empathy in those moments when it feels the most stressful will help you slow down your reaction and give you the mental space and energy to figure out what your child is trying to communicate with his behavior. 

What do you need to do to be able to stay with your child when he’s at his worst?
Young children fear parental abandonment, they have the fear that parents can stop loving them and, therefore, it is important that when your little one is at his worst you stay with him/her. This is hard, SO HARD!!

Reflecting on your own experience will help you better understand your child’s experience. Often times those two are parallel and bring meaning to each other.

 (i.e., Why does this behavior upset me so much? How does it make me feel – powerless, helpless, incompetent, ashamed, etc.? What am I worried about? Do these feelings remind of other times in my life, past or more recent? What was the reaction toward me as a kid when I got upset and how did others help me or what made me feel better? What makes me feel better now?)