Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Parenting. Show all posts

Wednesday, October 3

Ultimate Guide to Toddler Tantrums

1.  Stay calm.

2.  Keep your voice down; tone compassionate.

3.  Convey quiet strength and confidence.

4.  Try not to look harassed and like you've lost control.

5.  Do nothing to condone or condemn the behaviour; be neutral.

6.  Do not reject the child by thought, word, or deed.

7.  Do not punish or try to intimidate the child into submission.

Ultimate guide to temper tantrums

8.  Hunker down to your child's level; be as little a threat as you can be during the tantrum.

9.  Do not argue, reason with, or give ultimatums; just remain calm.

10.           Do not spout mindless directives (For instance; "You're not making me happy!").

11.           Do not appear to be against the child or treat her like an enemy.

12.           Make sure your body language is non-threatening and sympathetic.

13.           Do not threaten with dire consequences, bogey man, or Voldemort.

14.           Note the triggering event, factor, or set of circumstances and make amends so it does not happen again.

15.           Some reasons could be a growth spurt, new tooth, immunisation shots or other natural causes.

16.           New experiences such as day care, new sibling, moving house, long trips, hospital visits, family get-togethers, end of family get-togethers may also upset young children.

17.           Holiday season madness when adults show unpredictable behaviour.

18.           A tantrum is a cry for help for a problem that they are unable to articulate; pay heed.

Ultimate guide to temper tantrums

19.           Compromise; pick your battles; don’t get finicky with your toddler's behaviour and come down on her for the little stuff.

20.           Give her space by giving time instead of deadlines to work her way out of a tantrum episode.

21.           Do not blame your toddler for ruining your shopping, or day, or life.

22.           Be patient like the rock that lets the wave dash on it.

23.            Allow the child to feel safe even amidst a tantrum.

24.           Do not appear to withdraw your love; this will further traumatise her.

25.           Build trust by not attacking.

26.           Prevent tantrums in the first place by avoiding trigger events such as shopping during his nap times; leaving trigger objects such as cell phones within reach and then grabbing it when he picks it up; piling his plate with stuff you know he detests instead of introducing it stealthily or giving him options.

27.           The child is most vulnerable amid a tantrum and needs love more then than when they are serene and lovable.

28.           Try to understand the cause; communicate to your child that you're trying your best to do so.

29.           The child may be soothed somewhat if she thinks you're genuinely trying to help.

30.           If you can't find a reason just know that there still is a reason to this madness even if you are unable to find one at that point. Explore other scientific causes for your toddler's tantrums.

Children and tantrum behaviour

31.           If it is caused by pain, discomfort, or fear it would be insane to follow the prevalent wisdom and ignore the child. Rule out possible hurt, fear, discomfort, and other physical issues.

32.           Check for emotional issues. Has the child's routines been disrupted to accommodate your errands? A tantrum is the child's way of reacting to it.

33.           How many times a day do you say, "No!" to your toddler? If you do that a lot, try to balance the negative with positives.

34.           Do not let the reaction of others bother you and cause you to act irrationally.

35.           People are going to be giving well-meant advice on how to deal with tantrums, but they don't know your children as well as you do. Go with your gut feeling and not by prevailing wisdom.

36.           People may not like a screaming child; they like a strident adult even less. Keep your composure.

37.           Show genuine concern and communicate to him that you really want to help.

38.           Convey your helplessness (of snatching the other kid's toy and presenting it to him because it's not right) and commiserate appropriately. He should understand that the reason you're not doing it is because it's not the right thing to do; it is not your way of taking revenge on him for throwing a tantrum.

39.           Offer alternatives.

40.           Distract.

41.           Understand that tantrums usually cannot be cut short; it has to run its course.

42.           Bringing it up later may not be a good idea because the child may not have a clear recollection of it; kids live in the present; kids have no adult logic.

How to handle toddler tantrums

43.           Toddlers do not understand the concept of delayed gratification; which is why they want something right away and refuse to understand why not. She has to learn it the hard way when her tantrum does not make like magic and get her what she wants. Be aware of what she's going through and remain empathic. It's like you wanting the latest Samsung phone right away but a higher power says, "Nope, you've got to wait until next year!"

44.           Don't expect the child to manage his tantrum.

45.           A toddler tantrum is a form of self-expression although an extreme version.

46.           Examine patterns of your own and your spouse's behaviour and how you express frustration, anger, loss, and sadness.

47.           Is there something in your relationship that makes your child anxious?

48.           A toddler has no sense of responsibility and cannot be held responsible for the tantrum. It's like catching a cold when the conditions are right to catch a cold; the kid is not responsible for catching a cold bug.

49.           But parents have the responsibility to evaluate, find cause, and make relevant changes.

50.           Or understand the repercussions.

51.           Making him feel guilty can cause harm to his emotional development; his system is not ready for a guilt complex.

52.           A tantrum is not necessarily misbehaviour to begin with, although in time it can become so.

53.           Among siblings, one may throw tantrums while the other may not. Do not compare the two as this will lead to the good guy/ bad guy categorisation and promote sibling rivalry. This actually gives him negative reinforcement; "I'm the 'bad guy', it is okay for me to act out."

54.           Kids unconsciously act out to fulfil your expectations, even negative ones. So do not discuss his tantrum behaviour when he is present.

55.           Kids are different and have different personalities even within the same family. Childrearing has to suit the personality; it is not a case of one pattern fits all.

Ultimate guide to toddler tantrums

56.           Do not label. Do not talk about the tantrum thrower as 'problem child' or 'little demon' etc. this may cause him to feel different and a 'freak'.

57.           Some kids pick up cues from other kids' behaviour; possibly other kids at day-care or at a play group or from cousins at a family gathering, and even from cartoons and movies. If you're sure this is where it's coming from, explain gently why this is not nice, praise his earlier behaviour, and encourage him to go back to that.

58.           Reward good behaviour, highlight and offer positive reinforcement rather than always bringing up what needs to be fixed. Don't wait for bad behaviour before you go scrambling to find something to reward; do it from day one. This is how you program your child to be good. Once he has this record, he'll want to maintain it.

59.           Keep in touch with teachers, day care staff, coaches, instructors to find if he acts up outside the home. Also whether he has issues with bullying—as victim or perpetrator.

60.           Do not leave the child alone during a tantrum, or locked up in the car, or in his room. Do not walk away from your child when she is having a tantrum in a public place. Be there.

61.           This can create fears of abandonment which may compound their fears and frustrations.

62.           As it subsides, hold her close and ask her if she feels better. Most kids seek out the presence of their parent once the melt down subsides. Do not reject their reaching out.

63.           Remove him from the environment and help him settle down.

64.           Once he has regained his composure and is smiling again, match your mood to his. Don't remain sulking when he is all happy and sunny.

65.           Do not act like the long-suffering victim in order to make her feel like a villain.

66.           At the end of it all, don't treat your child like a parole violator. A post mortem of the proceedings is not necessarily understood by a very young child.

67.           If you have to bring it up, put the incident in a story. How Bunny threw a tantrum and upset all the other bunnies. Discuss Bunny's situation with her; ask her why Bunny got upset in the first place.

68.           Get in touch with your inner child and put yourself in his place.

69.           Align yourself firmly on the side of the child and tell her to let you know the next time she feels this way so you can both avoid this happening.

Ultimate guide to tantrums

70.           Never ridicule or make her feel like the enemy; be neutral.

71.           Do not counter the tantrum with smart comebacks or witticisms to make her feel stupid.

72.           Do not shame your child publicly by pointing to other people and how they might by laughing at her behaviour. She'll grow up with low self-esteem and always have the feeling of being judged by others.

73.           Validate her feelings of frustration, discomfort, being overwhelmed, fear, and powerlessness.

74.           Tell her you understand but there is a better way to deal with it.

75.           Make a secret code, such as "I'm upset". Ask her to use this the next time she feels low. She'll be happy to have a secret pact with you.

76.           Yet another secret code is a special name you have for her when she has no choice but listen and obey. For instance, Katelyn could be Katie honey, sweetie, angel, princess and so on when she is nice, but a firm "Kate!" when she misbehaves.

77.           Ignoring a tantrum believing that it will make it go away will only serve to make matters worse, especially if the tantrum was caused by a feeling of not being attended to in the first place. This is a form of passive-aggressive stance found in adult confrontations.

78.           A genuinely sensitive child will be devastated by this reaction. Be aware of your child's true basic nature before you react to her behaviour.

79.           Treat the issue as important even if it is the most ridiculous thing you've heard in your entire life. You are teaching your child the importance of validating the feelings of others.

how to handle tantrums in kids

80.           Consistent eye contact, smiles, and conversation assures your young child that he is a part of your world and not outside it. This helps form bonds of attachment that go so far as to enable healthy relationships as adults.

81.           Some kids act out if they are strapped to a pram or a car seat for lengthy periods of time and are deprived of regular human contact in the form of hugs and cuddles. Kids flourish on physical contact and fail to thrive when denied it. They may feel deprived and act out in frustration.

82.           A feeling that he has to compete and try very hard to win your attention will fashion him into a whiny, strident, and annoying kid who will go to any length to get you to pay attention. As he gets older, his attention-grabbing gimmicks will get out of hand and veer towards bullying, self-harm, and criminal activity.

83.           Once the tantrum episode is done with and the child is settled, get life back to normal and resume your day-to-day activities. Do not treat the child as if he is an invalid who needs extra attention and mollycoddling; this may program him to hit the tantrum button to get some quality attention from you. Instead give him the extra special treatment when he is in his best behaviour in order to encourage more of that.

84.           How do you react when frustrated? Are you sending cues with your own behaviour?

85.           Sometimes you have to give in and it's not a loss. For instance, if your toddler acts out because he does not want to share his toys, do not make him out to be an ogre. Respect his decision. Socialisation skills will kick in when he is older. How happy would you be if someone takes a shine to your iPad and decides she wants it?

86.           Give the kid a break now and then. Don't be on her case the entire day monitoring her every word and deed. She does not have to be on her best behaviour 24X7.

87.           Kids only know what they want and when they want it; which is right now.

Ultimate guide to tantrum behaviour

88.           Toddlers are not capable of rationalising and counter arguing; they can only say, "Why?" and not really understand your adult explanation, which is why they keep repeating, "Why?"

89.           Toddlers are not capable of figuring out the best option.

90.           Toddlers are not capable of coming to a decision, prioritising, or bargaining.

91.           Toddlers are not capable of shrewdness in order to get something or make something happen.

92.           Toddlers do not know the idea of postponement.

93.           Toddlers do not plan for the future. So when they throw a tantrum, it's not a pre-meditated plan to make you suffer. 

94.           Toddlers do not know about "deserving" something.

95.           Toddlers can be distracted.

96.           The best way to encourage good behaviour is to treat them with hugs, happiness, and goodies when they are good on their own accord without your instructions or pleas.

97.           Treats need not be sugary stuff; it can be a good block of uninterrupted quality time, impromptu story or song, cooking together, or gardening, or whatever you both enjoy.

98.           When you smile at your toddler, make sure you look into his eyes and connect.

Ultimate guide to temper tantrums

99.           Be reasonable and realistic and deal with tantrums on a case by case basis rather than one set of rules to fit all temper episodes. When you decree Time Out for all tantrum behaviour, you're not interested in finding out the root cause of what's distressing your child. You have confined your role to that of a mere disciplinarian when the situation calls for a loving, understanding, and caring parent.   

100.        Like all things in life, this too shall pass; your toddler will soon be replaced by a weird teenager; so enjoy her while you're still able to pick her up and hug her tight.
I appreciate you reading this far. Do let me know if this post has been useful in some way by leaving a comment. I'd appreciate you sharing, liking, and tweeting this post so it goes around. Have a great day!

Friday, September 21

How to tell your children about your divorce

children and divorce
Children and Divorce Photo arashdeep
Do it together
Prepare your script
Give a clear picture
Keep calm
Focus on the child alone
Listen to what the child has to say
Give Assurance
Where to say it
How to say it
More than one child
When to tell your child about divorce
Do not spring it on her
Give a clear, lucid reason for the divorce
Seek expert help

Divorce is not a new concept in modern society and so your children are in all possibility quite familiar with the issue. They probably have friends with divorced parents. But this does not make them immune to the repercussions when it happens to their own Mum and Dad. And you cannot take for granted that they will accept what's happening just because it's rampant and all around. 

All the more reason for you, as parents, to handle the matter very carefully and in a manner that will cause the least amount of damage. Once you have taken the final decision to separate, it's time to inform your kids about it. It is important to make sure your kids understand that the divorce or separation is between Mum and Dad and not between parents and kids. They need to understand perfectly that their status as son and daughter continues till the end of time. Here are a few tips on how best to handle informing your children about your decision to divorce. 

Childrearingtips Photograph

Do it together

Informing your child about your divorce is best done together. If your separation is amicable, this need not be painful. But if your parting is not very pleasant, it would be ideal where your child is concerned if you could pull your act together for one last time for the benefit of your child. This is the one part of divorce proceedings that is not about the two of you; it is entirely about your child. Put aside personal hurts, pride, hatred, and anger to sit down and talk about your child. When you do this together, your child understands
  • you both care about her despite your differences
  • she is valuable and will not be abandoned
  • she still has a Mum and Dad

Prepare your script

Before you sit your child down to inform her of your divorce, you and your partner need to discuss in a sane manner and come to a conclusion as to how to do this, what to say, and who will say what. Rehearse if you must. Your script must address

  • how best to let your children know about the divorce
  • the changes that you believe will happen
  • how to reassure your child that you will take all possible care to ensure he is taken care of as always 

 and anything else that may be relevant to your personal circumstances.

Give a clear picture

Give your child a clear picture of the changes that will happen because of the divorce. To be able to do this, you need to have a clear idea of the situation and how best to see it through. Kids thrive on routine and a divorce can be one of the most unsettling things that can happen in a child's life. You can make the best of a bad situation by 
  • having a plan 
  • showing confidence that it will work 
  • assuring them that it is not the end of the world

Kids take their cue from you and so your confidence and optimism will rub off on them. 

children and divorce
Childrearingtips Photograph Kahanaboy

Keep calm

When you're talking to your child about your decision to divorce, do not let emotions take control and show distress and anger. Neither should you be cold and distant. Do not fake emotions that you have ceased feeling for each other; this will confuse the child. Be courteous to each other throughout. Your child needs to understand that the two of you are genuinely concerned about her and will do all that you can to ensure her best interests. It becomes easier to handle this matter calmly if you talk to your child after  

  • you have reached a clear irrevocable decision regarding your divorce
  • all your doubts have been laid to rest and you are at peace with your decision
  • you truly believe this is the best option for all concerned

And then it follows naturally that you inform your children about your decision to separate. The worst thing you can do is drag your children along as you go through a wild roller coaster emotional ride as to divorce or not to divorce. 

Focus on the child alone

This conversation about your divorce needs to be completely child centred. Refrain from bringing up personal stuff, sarcastic expressions, snide remarks, and arguments into it. Use positive language to build trust in the child that he is not forsaken. Focus on the good such as visits, outings, games, and other fun things you have planned for her. Above all, build confidence in her that you both love her and will do all you can to ensure her safety and happiness.

Listen to what the child has to say

When informed of divorce, kids usually go silent, cry, say hurtful things, or show anger. Bear in mind that divorce is one of the chief causes of tantrum behaviour in children. Be prepared and respond with love. Pay attention to your child's expression and body language. Encourage her to express how she is feeling and tell you anything that may come up. Answer her questions as honestly as you can in simple direct language. Avoid beating around the bush or giving complicated explanations. Stay focused and don't let her rants start you off on one of your own. 

Give Assurance

how to tell kids about divorce
Childrearingtips on divorce Photograph audbliss
Often it is the Dad who moves out of the family home. Just as Mums, Dads are important for kids and their emotional growth. Assure the child that Dad is going to be visiting regularly. Give fixed dates such as weekends that the child can count on and make sure you keep your word. Help the child understand that the parent who is moving out is not disappearing for good. This parent can instill this belief in the child by spending quality time with her on a regular basis during the turbulent period that she is informed of the divorce. 

Where to say it

Do not pick a public place such as the park or the ice cream shop to break the news about your divorce. Your child may feel forced to control his emotions and not respond appropriately to the bombshell that has just been lobbed in his direction. It is important that they are given the space and the opportunity in which to vent as they want and as much as they want. Choose a familiar, comfortable setting such as your kitchen, family room, or your child's bedroom. A long car ride might seem ideal, but it is important that you be face-to-face with your child and not clutching at the steering while you tell her about getting divorced. You should be in a position to physically comfort your child if need be. 

How to say it

A single discussion may not be all that it takes to let the matter of divorce sink in. On first hearing about it, the child may feel a sense of unreality that this is not really happening. You may need to deal with the issue in a series of talks over a period of time till the matter has sunk in and the child has come to a full understanding. The child may then respond with a barrage of questions. This is healthy and should be encouraged.

You need to be patient and continue to answer questions to the best of your ability. Sometimes the child may repeat the same questions over and over again. This is his way of coming to terms with the issue or hoping that the issue has gone away like a bad dream. Help him out by answering patiently and sticking with the same answers. Consistency is very important in helping him absorb reality. Say nothing that will give him false hope. 

More than one child

If you have more than one child, you need to communicate to them separately at first and then together as a unit. This is important because they need to experience your attention and concern individually and not as part of a group where you will not be able to look them all in the eye at the same time. Besides, you need to use age appropriate language to make sure they understand the reason and be confident of your continued love and care.

When to tell your child about divorce

There never really is a best time to tell your child that the world as she knows it is going to break apart; but there are times that need to be avoided as much as possible. Just bear in mind that the child will remember this moment even into adulthood. He is going to remember what he was wearing, what he was munching on, the ticking of the clock, the expression on your face, what the dog was doing, the blinding sunlight, the pouring rain, and, so on. These memories will have repercussions for him.

All I can say is do not pick a time when he is at peace and perfectly joyful or when he is clearly having a very bad day, or is sick, or has a dental appointment the following day or is in the middle of exams in school. As for the time of the day, make sure it is not late evening and never dinner time and later. This will have the child tossing and turning all night or having nightmares. The best time would be after breakfast on a non-working day as this will give him the better part of the day or even a weekend to come to terms with it.

Do not spring it on her

Understand that divorce is even more traumatic for the child than it is for you. Your child probably has an idea that things are not pleasant between the two of you. But this does not mean that she is prepared for you to separate. Does she believe you have your differences but it's only minor and you will work it out as usual? In this case she is complacent and not duly worried. If you spring the issue of divorce on her, she is going to be shocked. In this case you, the parents, need to sit her down and explain to her that you are going through a very difficult period and are not able to work things out as you usually do. You need to gauge accurately at what stage of understanding your child is and then use age appropriate language and concepts to explain the situation to her.

Give a clear, lucid reason for the divorce

If your child is old enough to understand speech, you need to let him know in clear, unambiguous terms just what the situation is. Do not use complex concepts such as infidelity, financial control, and irreconcilable differences etc. to explain the situation. Instead, try to explain how these problems are due to money, work, not spending enough time together, or whatever else it may be. You have to avoid unpleasantness and use appropriate simple language. What is of utmost importance is that your explanation is not vague and the child gets a solid reason that he can process and understand. This is to make sure that he does not feel guilty and believe that the entire drama is his fault.

divorce and family
Childrearingtips Photograph Courtesy

Seek professional help

If you are seeing a therapist, he or she might be able to guide you on how best to handle this issue. Sometimes parents are unable to come up with the right thing to say and might be extremely fearful of hurting their child. They might also want very much to avoid or at least minimise the psychological effects of divorce on their children. A therapist might be able to help in these situations. Family counselling sessions may prove helpful for all concerned when you have children involved in a divorce situation.

I hope these tips have been helpful. I'd really appreciate your comments and ideas on the topic of children and divorce. Your likes, shares, and tweets are always appreciated as it helps me spread the word. Thanks for reading this far!

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