Some Food for Thought about Meltdowns
Often we, as parents, get overwhelmed with the daily responsibilities we face. Short staffed at work as companies try to cut down on costs and maximize profits. Companies are still making up from the losses incurred during shutdowns. Supply chains are still disrupted, increases in fuel prices are making everyone spend more on anything that has to be transported for sale.
As a result of our feelings of frustration and being overwhelmed, often we forget that our kids need our time, too. Ask yourself – as a parent, what is the most important job I have? Most of us will admit that it is to raise a competent human being, fit to enter and contribute to society.
But when we are overwhelmed ourselves, sometimes we just don’t know what to say. Here’s a few suggestions:
How do you respond to your child when there is a disappointment, a failure, a heartbreak?
Face it, those are rather cruel things to say to a person. Would you say those things to a friend or co-worker? Probably not. Why? Why do you say them to your child? For most of us, it is because our parents said those things to us. It’s a bit embarrassing to open your mouth and hear your mother come out.
So what can you do to change what you say?
First thing is to recognize that those old things just don’t produce the type of child you want to send out into the world.
Second is to practice. Think about situations where your child came to you, you responded, and your child shut down. Then re-imagine how the conversation might go if you said something different. Something that conveyed respect for your child’s feelings. Something that reinforced your child’s sense of dignity?
Like what? What do I say?
Instead of dismissing your child’s feelings as unimportant or unrealistic, IDENTIFY THE CHILD’S FEELINGS.
If you aren’t sure what to say,
Sometimes, when feelings are just too jumbled up for your child to understand they may respond with the classic “I don’t know”. Or “I forgot”. Most of the time this is your child’s way of saying they just can’t put words to how they feel. Trot out a few words that might fit
You could say “hmmm. If I were in that situation I might feel….
Listen and see what your child grasps onto. Sometimes they won’t really say anything out loud, so you may have to pay attention to the body language. Do they slump at a particular word? Do they roll their eyes? Do they turn away. Many times body language cues you in on how they feel, even when they don’t have the words to describe the feelings.
Remember, what may seem like not such a big deal to you can be quite a big deal for your child. Reflect, help them identify emotions, and don’t try to solve the problem until they ask you for help. How to help? Check back for the next blog.
fun, fall festival at Therapeutic Riding of Tuscaloosa. Hay rides, petting zoo, trick-or-treating, and more Adults $5 donation at the gate. Kids free. All proceeds from this event go to support scholarships at TROT