In this blog series you learned the potential emotional and physical causes of children’s intense meltdowns. You discovered what happens in the brain during these highly emotional outbursts, and you learned how to be present with your children during their worst tantrums.
At this point you may be totally at your wits’ end wondering how you will ever be able to change what’s happening. You might still be experiencing power struggles and difficulties, even after doing the steps to help your child through the meltdowns.
Take a deep breath. You’ll find the answers you need.
What matters most is that you repair and strengthen your relationship with your child. Over time you can establish a deep connection to create lasting respect and cooperation. This is the way to get out ahead of emotional blow-ups and pave the way to prevent them.
Changing patterns can take time. Some of the underlying causes may be deeply rooted. It may not be easy and there’s a transitioning involved, but the rewards are huge.
If you’ve been relying on threats, punishment or bribes to get your child to cooperate – or if you’ve been reacting, yelling or doing time-outs when your child is in a meltdown – you will need to make some changes and you can expect some bumps as you form new patterns of relating. You might find that things get worse for some time while your child begins to trust you and the underlying hurts and frustrations are released.
Deepen Your Relationship
The way to truly understand the motivations behind any behavior is to deepen your relationship by connecting with your child.
When you show your child that you are truly interested in understanding him and that you want to listen to him, he can move past the anger and show you what’s underneath. He can feel more comfortable with all his challenging feelings, and he can trust that you can help him with his full range of emotions.
When your child feels deeply heard and understood, she will stop fighting you since she knows you are on her side. You may be surprised how the behavior shifts.
What does it mean to connect with your child?
You do this by listening with empathy and non-judgement for the underlying story. Carefully pay attention with a curious mind at any chance you get to know your child on a deeper level than ever before. Look for opportunities to see the world from your child’s point of view. To be fully present and listen with empathy you’ll need to drop your judgements and agendas and be open to whatever is there.
Drop the intention of finding out “what’s wrong” with your child. Try not to label behaviors or feelings as good or bad. Shift into the mindset that your child is having a difficult time and his brain/body is having a normal reaction to something that is troubling or stressing him. Shift the question in your mind from “what’s wrong with you?” to “it looks like you’re having a hard time – how can we figure this out together?”
Kids have their own way of connecting. Engage your natural intuition and read between the lines. Watch for and listen to non-verbal cues. When you are fully present you can intuitively pick up on what’s going on.
If your child has unresolved trauma, she may be in chronic fight or flight mode. How can you help her feel safe? How can you start noticing when she’s not feeling safe? When you are in tune, you’ll begin to see the signs that she’s starting to feel emotionally overwhelmed. You’ll begin to notice what triggers your child, and you’ll be better able to recognize when a meltdown is coming on. With practice, you will trust yourself to know.
Stick to the Limits
Connecting with your child with empathy does not mean that you allow him to always do what he wants. Limits and boundaries are key to a respectful relationship. You can set appropriate limits while allowing your child to have his feelings about it.
In a healthy, connected relationship, kids don’t get everything they want. But they do get a parent who understands and accepts them, no matter what. In my Calm, Connected Parenting Program you will learn how to set and keep limits that your child will want to comply with – without losing your connection or damaging your relationship.
Look for Clues of Physical Imbalances
Keep in mind that there might be physiological imbalances that are contributing to your child’s explosive meltdowns. You can begin to pay attention to signs of nutrient deficiencies or food sensitivities – or other signs of chronic physical issues. If you schedule a call with me, we can figure that out together.
Finding it difficult to keep your cool with your child?
It’s difficult to interact effectively and peacefully (consistently) with your children if you are tired, stressed and depleted.
Are you parenting from reactivity?
If you are getting triggered by your child’s behavior, you might be sabotaging your connection and your relationship. You can’t effectively parent from a place of upset or anger. This will cause more resistance in your child and more meltdowns.
When you can begin to identify what lies underneath your triggers, you can recognize them right when they come up and choose a different way of being. You can resolve those triggers, so you don’t get upset so often, and you can recover more quickly when you do. You can notice when you’re getting close to the edge and return yourself to calm.
Life is not stress free and it never will be. But you can develop a different relationship to stress and become more calm and centered – even when your child is in a meltdown.
Exploring the feelings and beliefs beneath your triggers is difficult to manage on your own. In my coaching program, I will help you uncover why you are getting triggered and help you resolve it within yourself so that you can show up more effectively for your child.
I will help you form a different relationship to stress and go from exhausted and depleted to more relaxed and recharged. You can manage your stress and shift your uncomfortable emotional patterns. I will help you create your perfect self-care plan, individualized to your needs and completely attainable within your busy schedule. You will begin to have an ongoing sense of well-being within yourself and experience a more fun and light-hearted way of being with your kids.
You’ll know exactly what to do in those moments when your kids are strongly acting out. You will be able to get off the train of reactivity and into a space of empathy. When your children feel empathy from you instead of reactivity, they can begin to release their own stress and stop fighting you.
As you change, your child changes! And then parenting can become joyful, playful, and fun!
When you are emotionally equipped to deal with all that parenting throws at you – the upsets, the hurts, the arguments, the joys, the sorrows, all the heart-wrenching moments – you will be able to effectively assist your child with his or her strong feelings to move through it all without anger or harm to your child and your relationship.
When you parent in a way that is respectful to your child’s growth and well-being, then everyone wins. You’ll be amazed at how your child will respond to the rules and respect your requests.
It seems like magic. But it’s not. You have to do the work to get to this point.
If you’d like to talk with me to find out specifically how I can help you, I am here to deeply listen.
I provide a purely judgement-free, completely confidential space for you to talk about what’s happening. I’ll support you in a new way of communicating and interacting – so your kids are more cooperative and you can feel more peace and ease.
If you want to talk about your frustrations, feeling overwhelmed, or whatever is on your mind … take 45 minutes for yourself to talk with me. It could change everything.
If you want less stress, less guilt, and to be a happier parent while creating a deeper connection with your children, put yourself on my calendar. Make this choice to change your life now, while I still have appointments available.
Read all of the posts in this series . . .
Read Introduction What’s Causing Your Child’s Meltdowns
Read Post #1 Is Your Angry Child Purposefully Defiant or Emotionally Stressed?
Read Post #2 What Causes Stress in Children?
Read Post #3 Underlying Physical Imbalances May Cause Aggressive Meltdowns
Read Post #4 ADHD Meltdown: Get to the Root Cause of the Explosive Behavior
Read Post #5 4 Steps to Help Your Kids Through Their Worst Meltdowns
Read Post #6 How to Prevent the Meltdowns and Create Peace in Your Family