Picture this: A stressful day, frantically trying to find something in the grocery store to stuff into your already full cart. Suddenly your 2-year-old child who, for one reason or another, is not in the best mood decides to scream and cry so loudly that it seems the entire store is staring.
What do you do?
Without the proper preparation and information, this inevitable moment can seem overwhelming for a parent. I have found that the more you know, the more you can better help your child grow and develop into the person you dream your children will become. Luckily, with a lot of studying and researching, I have found simplicity in the techniques of parenting. In regard to this difficult but ever-frequent dilemma, overcoming it can be improved in three small steps.
: Put yourself in his shoes.
It's important to put yourself in the child's perspective. In the book, "Unconditional Parenting" by Alfie Kohn, he urges parents to think about what the child is feeling and why he is feeling that way. Was it a rough night? Is he hungry? Maybe he is just as tired as you are with shopping. Whatever the reason, you need to patiently see the situation from his point of view, and then you can start addressing the problem.
: How do you feel?
Help the child figure out her emotions, and how she can control them and do better next time. Emotions are powerful things that can be challenging to cope with at any age. Parents should ask the child what she is feeling, allow her to find the source of the problem by asking her soothing questions, and then direct her to the appropriate behavior for the situation. This will help the current situation but will also help with future difficulties, as well.
Third step: Keep the bigger picture in mind
Our everyday lives are pushed on high speed and crammed with hundreds of things that need our attention at once. Dealing with children in the mix of this can be difficult. Parents need to take time to help their child to grow through these tantrums.
Dr. Jane Nelsen urges us to help them improve their abilities - to communicate, control their emotions and problem solve - so they can gain skills for future situations. In this way, you are helping them become better individuals instead of silencing them for each individual tantrum.
Alfie Kohn states, "Being a parent is hard, but being a child is harder." Parents need to remember that each patient teaching opportunity is a chance to help your children develop and feel more confident and competent in their challenging life of change and growth.
Parenting, in the most influential way, takes time. So, next time you find yourself in a busy grocery store with a screaming child ignore the clock, ignore the people around you, ignore your impatience and your anger. Don't go for the easiest out. Take the time to give your child a chance to become better.