The Cure for Whining
Should they get what they want by whining? Absolutely not. Should
they learn that they can get their way by marshaling good arguments
and making them in a reasonable, humorous, charming way that meets your
needs as well as theirs? Absolutely, if you want them to get anywhere
in life. But how to help them make that transition?
common with toddlers and preschoolers. Parents are usually advised
to tell their kids to ask in a nice voice, because they can’t hear the
whiny voice. But whining is a symptom of a deeper issue. So if you
want to eliminate whining, you have to address what’s underneath. If
your child’s whining is driving you crazy, here are six parent-proven
secrets to stop your child from whining. Which secret you use depends on why he’s whining.
1. Whining because he doesn’t have the internal resources to cope with what’s being asked
When humans feel overwhelmed, they get whiny. (As a toddler, he would have thrown himself howling to the ground, but by three or four he can often whine instead.) Meet his basic needs for food, rest, down time, run-around time, and connection with you, or you can count on whining. He may not tantrum as much as he
used to, but he will certainly whine if you force him to endure that
shopping trip while he’s hungry and tired. Why create a negative
situation from which he’ll learn and repeat?
because she needs more connection:
Be pre-emptive. Make sure
that your child gets enough of your positive attention, unprovoked.
Pre-empt whining by giving attention BEFORE she gets demanding. Anyone
who’s had to ask a romantic partner “Do you love me?” knows that
attention given after you ask can never really fill the need. The secret
is to take the initiative and give attention the child hasn’t asked
for, often, so she feels your support and connection. And of course it’s
particularly important to give attention when she shows the first sign
of needing your emotional support, before that quick downhill slide. (No, you’re not rewarding “bad” behavior by giving her attention when she’s whining. If she were whining from hunger, would you think you were rewarding that by feeding her? It’s our job to meet kids’ needs so they have the internal resources to cope. That includes giving them our loving presence so they feel safe and loved.)
3. Whining because she doesn’t like what’s happening but feels powerless to get her way:
Cohen says, “When
children whine they are
feeling powerless. If we scold them for whining or refuse to
listen to them we increase their feelings of powerlessness.
we give in so they will stop whining, we reward that
powerlessness. But if we relaxedly, playfully, invite them
to use a strong
voice, we increase their sense of confidence and competence.
we find a bridge back to close connection."
Start by letting her know that you hear what she wants, and you see her point of view: "You really want to go to the playground, and you keep telling me that, and here I keep stopping at all these stores that you aren’t expecting, and you’re disappointed, right?” Sometimes just feeling heard is enough to stop whining in its tracks.
Then, if she keeps whining, you can say playfully “You don’t sound like yourself. I wonder where your usual strong voice went?”
Express confidence that your child can use her “strong” voice
and offer your assistance to help her find it, by making it into a
game: “Hey, where did your strong voice go? It was here a minute
ago. I LOVE your strong voice! I’ll help you find it. Help me look.
Is it under the chair? No…In the toy box? No…. HEY! You found
it!! That was your strong voice!! Yay! I love your strong voice! Now,
tell me again what you need, in your strong voice.”
Finally, give her alternate tools by teaching her how to ask appropriately for something
and negotiate with you. Since whining is so often a function of
powerlessness, helping your child to feel that she can get
what she wants through reasonable measures will carry over into the rest
of her life.
In other words, you don’t want her to learn that she gets her way in life by whining or tantrumming, but you do want her
to learn that she can get what she wants through managing her emotions,
seeing things from the other person’s point of view and setting up
win/win situations. (And of course, that’s what you always try to model.)
So if you simply don’t have time to go to the playground today, then don’t. Be empathic about his desire, and nurture him through the meltdown, as described in #4 below. But if your objection is to his whining, rather than his request, and he manages to pull himself together and ask in a
reasonable way for what he wants, then you’ll be able to engage in the kind of conflict resolution that finds a win/win solution.
“Ok, you want to go to the
playground, and I need to stop at the hardware store. Let’s do this:
If we’re really quick at the hardware store, we’ll have time to stop at the
playground on the way home. Think you can help me be quick? And if you are really fast about getting
in and out of your car seat, we
can stay even longer at the playground.”
Are you “rewarding” whining? No, you’re empowering him by demonstrating that finding solutions that work for both of you is the way to get what he wants in life.
4. Whining because he needs to cry:
He has a lot of pent-up emotions about things that are stressing him – the new babysitter you left him with on Friday night, that kid who grabbed the truck away in the sandbox, potty training, the new baby – there’s no end of stressful developmental challenges! Toddlers let off stress by simply having a meltdown, but as they get older they gain more
self-control, and begin to whine instead. Be kind in response to his whining until you get home and have a few minutes to spend with him. Then draw him onto your lap, look him in the eye and say “I notice you were feeling so whiny and sad, Sweetie. Do you just need to cuddle and maybe cry a bit? Everybody needs to cry sometimes. I’m right here to hold you.”
5. Whining because it works:
Don’t reward whining. Don’t give
in and buy the candy. But there is never a reason to be less than kind about it. Responding to his desire with empathy (“You wish you could have that candy”) helps him feel less alone with his disappointment. And there’s nothing wrong with finding something else that will make him happy, like a shiny red apple or a trip to the playground. That teaches him to look for win/win solutions. If, by contrast, he feels
like he only gets what he wants by whining, he’ll become an expert
because you’ll do anything to stop it:
Change your attitude. Why do parents hate whining so much? Because
whining is your little one’s more mature form of crying. She’s letting
you know she needs your attention. And human grownups are programmed to
react to whining as much as to crying, so the needs of tiny humans get
met. So the minute you hear that whine, you react with anxiety. You’ll
do anything to stop it.
But if you can take a deep breath and remind
yourself that there’s no crisis, you’ll feel a lot better, and you’ll
parent better. Don’t let your automatic crisis mode of fight or flight kick in. Don’t feel like you
have to do anything at all except love your child. Just smile at your child and give her a big hug.
Most of the time, the whining will stop.
1. Rice/bean bins. All you need is a bin, some rice or beans, and some scoops or cups. (I use an under-the-bed storage tub because I actually store mine under a bed, and because that way it’s long enough for multiple children to use at once.) These require close supervision for really young children, so I set mine up right next to the table I’m working at so the young kids are always in sight. And may I mention that I strongly prefer beans to rice? You see, beans vacuum and sweep up easily while rice just gets blown every which way.
2. Water bins/tables. These require a nice day and a deck…smile… but are great. Again, fill up a tub with water and provide scoops, bowls, and a few fun trinkets (some that float and some that sink) and let kids play ‘til their heart’s content. Add a few drops of food coloring for extra fun! Accept before you begin that each child who plays will require a full wardrobe change. I actually use this one a lot while I’m making dinner- the kids are going into the bath at that point anyway, right? Please use your best judgement when allowing young children to engage in water play and ensure close supervision at all times.
3. Paint with water books. Yes, they still exist and yes, they are still a great way to get some exploration going with less than half the mess of the full-fledged version.
4. Puzzles. Use the manufactured variety or try making your own by cutting up pictures your child (or a sibling) has drawn.
5. Special Play Boxes. The idea is that you only take these special boxes of toys out when you are homeschooling another child. These are special treats. Change them up every few weeks or so depending upon your younger child’s interests. Here, my youngest daughter is playing with matchbox cars as I work with her brother.
6. Stickers. On paper, on clothes, on favorite chairs…
7. Number Wheels. Print a color wheel and ask kids to place the corresponding clothes pin on the wheel. For details, check out Money Saving Mom’s post here. If your child isn’t ready for numbers yet, try putting colors onto the wheel and colored dots on the clothes pins for kids to match. If your child is really young, try just giving them clothes pins with a variety of things/materials to attach them to.
8. Legos and blocks. These are great all by themselves, but can also be used in conjunction with props like dolls, cars, shoeboxes and paper towel rolls. What can kids make with them?
9. Tweezers and pom poms. Provide some multi-colored craft pom poms and ask kids to sort by size or color. If the child is still very young, take away the tweezers and give them a yogurt container with a small hole cut in the top to stuff pom poms through. When they are done, open the container and start again.
10. Toddler sewing basket. For instructions on how to assemble one of these babies, go here, to Childhood 101.
11. Pipe cleaners in containers. This is a variation of the pom pom suggestion: cut several small holes in a yogurt or coffee container and ask the child to stick pipe cleaners into them. For added challenge, color hole-reinforcers (like you use in three-hole-punched documents) and ask the child to match the pipe cleaner color to the hole reinforcer color.
12. Magazine scavenger hunts. Really young kids can just rip up the pages, but slightly older toddlers can search through pages to find items you ask for, like pictures of smiles, flowers, a Mommy, etc.
13. Alphabet or picture tracing sheets. This is as easy as laminating an alphabet practice sheet and providing dry erase markers. All done? Wipe and start again.
14. Egg cartons filled with plastic colored eggs. Fill these eggs with little trinkets that will make noise in the eggs. This is enough for young kids. For slightly older kids you can ask them what they hear in the eggs, then have them open the eggs on their own to see if they were correct. (Be careful of very small items for very young children.)
15. Play-Doh filled balloons. You never know what a child is going to create with these, but the sensory experience is the major boon. For details, go here.
16. Pool Noodle Stringing. Cut up pool noodles and provide yarn for little kids to string together.
17. Magnetic Magazine Face-Making. Cut out eyes, ears, mouths, noses, etc. from magazines, laminate, and adhere to magnets. Then, provide your toddler with a magnetic surface to rearrange faces. For details from The Iowa Farmer’s Wife, go here.
18. Lacing boards. These can be made with leftover cereal boxes, or can be purchased. You punch several holes along the outline of a shape, and ask your toddler to weave shoestring in and out of the holes. Don’t expect perfection unless you are giving instructions- just let them do it on their own.
19. Felt Face-Making. Same idea as above, but you use felt to create facial features and let little hands assemble the faces as they will. This idea can be adjusted to fit any theme you’re working on in your homeschool with just a little forethought. Cupcakes, ice cream cones, firetrucks, fish… the list goes on and on. Just create one large, major shape and provide lots of smaller shapes to adorn the large one.
20. Soda bottle filled with glitter, oil, and water. Grab a two-liter and fill it with these ingredients for fun. Roll them, shake them and put them into containers. Remember to glue the cap on before you give this to your child!
21. Button Snake. Tie or sew a button onto a piece of ribbon and provide felt scraps to thread onto the “snake.” For details, go here.
22. Clothesline Play. String up a pretend clothesline and provide a few socks, some felt clothes cut-outs, a few scarves, etc. plus a few clothespins and let younger kids have fun hanging up the wash.
23. Bathtub painting. Let a squirmy toddler paint in the bathtub with tempra or other washable paint. Just strip them down and let them go to town, then use the shower head to rinse it all (including what’s on their bodies) down the drain. Use your best judgement when it comes to supervising your child in the water (which you will need to use when you’re cleaning up the masterpiece).
Image from No One Has More Fun Than The Adams’
24. Ziplock bag painting. Fill a bag with paint and tape it up to a glass surface. For details, go here.
25. Giving babydolls a bath. This isn’t so gender-specific as you may think. You might be surprised at how many boys enjoy a small tub of water, plastic baby doll, towels and soap. This is another activity which may require a full wardrobe change, but is well-worth the effort.
26. Stamping. Ink pad, paper and a variety of stamps. Check out my tutorial on how to make foam stickers into stamps here.
27. Color scavenger hunt. Give your child a paper bag with a color scribbled on the front, or a colored bag, and ask them to run around the house until they find items of that color to put in the bag. You should also *ahem* set some limits as to what can, and cannot, go in the bag.
(Image from Home Learning From Birth)
28. Bottles and cap matching. Take a bunch of used bottles (washed, of course) and let children match the caps to the bottles. Added bonus? This is a self-correcting activity, so when they get to the end and all the caps don’t match, they know they’ve made a mistake and can go back to find it. Want details? Click here.
29. Rubberband/shoebox guitars. These are fun to play, and fun to make. Just a couple of shoeboxes with rubber bands around them create music (but not too loud) and lots of opportunity for exploration.
30. Give them “work.” Give your younger child the same worksheet you give your older child and see what they do with it! The more authentic and identical the worksheet, the better.
31. Pudding/Yogurt fingerpainting. This is another activity which necessitates prompt bathing (boy, I have a lot of those), but gives you peace of mind while you work with another student that your child won’t be ingesting paint. Tools like spoons and paintbrushes only add to the fun.
32. Cutting practice. While themed printables are fun, you don’t need anything that fancy. Just draw some wiggly lines across a page and ask your older toddler to cut the marks you’ve made.
33. PlayDoh prints. My kids will play with Play Doh for hours anyway, but they’re especially intrigued by anything that makes a print in the soft dough (think Legos, sporks, beaded necklaces, cookie cutters and little truck wheels).
34. Sorting. Colored pasta, old keys, nuts and bolts. You name it, kids can sort it.
35. Balloons. They don’t even need helium- just blow them up and provide a pool noodle for hitting, or tie bunches of them up with a bunch of ribbon and let your kids try to keep them in the air. Try giving kids a straw and having them blow their balloons around the room.
(Please note: use your best judgement when using balloons around young children as popped balloons pose a serious choking hazard.)
36. Water transfer. This can be done with pipettes and small bowls of water, or with small pitchers. The key here is small amounts of water. Colored water is extra exciting.
37. Chalk. It’s versatile- if you have a chalkboard that’s great, but chalk can be used on black construction paper, on driveways and sidewalks if you’re outside, on rocks, on felt…
38. Masking tape obstacle course. You can tailor this to meet your child’s needs- put down a straight line and ask your child to walk/hop/skip along it. Create squares they must use to jump between, even adhere tape to the walls in a hallway and tell your child to try to go below the lines you’ve put up.
39. Pattern Blocks. The idea is to use a set of blocks and ask your child to create the same patterns with the blocks that appear on a form. This can be done by tracing blocks you already have, or by purchasing a set like this one.
40. Give up. Really. When all else fails: skip school for the time being and give your babies the attention they need. I’ve seldom regretted calling it quits on a tough school day to give us all a chance to regroup, but I have often regretted not doing so. Realize that you aren’t a superhuman and there is nothing so important that should make you ignore a young child who wants and needs you.
© Jon Whittle
Two-year-olds get all the buzz, but the truth is, tantrums and mayhem can strike at any age, for a variety of reasons. “Most toddlers begin testing limits shortly after their first birthday and continue until about age four,” says Ari Brown, M.D., author of Toddler 411.
So how did the Terrible Twos become such a pop-parenting phenomenon? “It’s an old-fashioned idea and not supported by research,” says Alan Kazdin, Ph.D., director of the Parenting Center at Yale University. The term was coined in the 1950s, perhaps because so much pressure was put on families to be detergent-commercial perfect that the moment a child grew out of compliant infancy, moms were freaked out. But modern parents agree—every kid is different, and every year presents new joys and challenges. Read on for a fresh perspective on each stage.
What’s to Love: They can be wonderfully cuddly. And since many 1-year-olds haven’t yet realized the power of the word “no” to antagonize you, they can often be more compliant than their 2- to 4-year-old sibs. Their distractible nature means you can get them to stop fiddling with the oven knob by giving them a pot and a spoon to bang with.
What’s Tough About It: Establishing good sleep patterns is still a struggle throughout this year, as you drop the morning nap, lengthen the midday one, and solidify bedtime. All that snooze drama can make for an overtired, cranky kid. In addition, his limited vocabulary makes for misunderstandings. (He says “nana.” You put him on the phone with Nana Helen. He wanted a banana. Cue meltdown.)
How To Make the Most of It: They need about 13 hours of sleep (11 at night and 2 during the day), so try to make it happen, suggests Bronwyn Charlton, Ph.D., co-founder of SeedlingsGroup, a collective of child-development experts in New York City. Inadequate sleep stacks the deck against you: A tired toddler is a cranky toddler.
What’s to Love: There’s no denying it—2-year-olds are stinking cute! Their curiosity about the world is infectious. And while they certainly get into trouble, their mishaps feel accidental, making them easier to forgive.
What’s Tough About It: Two-year-olds are fully mobile. Translation: They’re into everything. And that means this is the first time you’ve had to set limits (no climbing the bookcase, crossing the street, or picking up cigarette butts off the sidewalk). Your child has never heard “no” so many times in her short life—and she doesn’t like it. To top it all off, 2-year-olds don’t yet have the language to express feelings, so they resort to pitching fits. Their young brains can’t handle extreme emotions without going a bit haywire.
How to Make The Most of It: Praise often: “You didn’t throw any toys today! Great job!” When she blows her stack, ignore her, as long as she isn’t hurting anyone. Yelling or attempts to subdue—even with affection—make tantrums last longer. Kazdin notes that a tantrum is a futile time for discipline. “Wait until your child is able to absorb what you say.”
This blogger, from Huffingtonpost, has some very sane, sanity saving tips:
“I did search for what experts say when it comes to "timesaving tips for busy parents”, but I found their advice to be unreasonable and cumbersome. One site advised to “never come home angry.” Well sure, that is a fine goal, but if we can’t come home angry, some of us would never come home at all.
My tips, on the other hand, are practical suggestions to save twenty seconds here, a minute there, and a massive headache later. These are the hidden methods to my madness:
Wear day/night clothing. It may be time to ditch the cute pajama pants and matching tank and invest in a wardrobe that meets your daytime and bedtime needs. A flattering pair of black yoga pants can easily transition from the bedroom to the playground. Not only will this save time crucial time in the morning, but it can cut down the laundry loads quite a bit.
Utilize those babywipes for more than your tot’s tush! Instead of washing my face in the morning, I use baby wipes to clean the sleep from my eyes. Don’t be so appalled, I do buy the chlorine free ones.
Never prepare an unnecessary meal. When my husband has one of his many dinner meetings, instead of making my own evening meal, I eat the leftovers on my daughters’ plates. Yum… carrot sticks and uninspired chicken on Disney Princess plates.
Make Sprout your new BFF. I know, I know, admitting that I let my children watch the occasional television program may likely send Children’s Protective Services to my home, but it’s true, we do. The girls love Dora, Max and Ruby, Olivia, and a good half-dozen other annoying cartoon characters. Do you know how many task I can get done during one 30-minute cartoon? Clean the dishes, put away the laundry, have a quickie in the bedroom with my husband…
Cut your daughter’s hair. On principle I keep the hair on my two young daughters’ heads well trimmed. I have yet to meet the parent of a girl that doesn’t suffer from the tiresome tangle battles. Neither of my girls readily allow me to brush their hair, nor do they have the ability to do this themselves. So, in my effort to avoid chasing them around the house, wrestling them to the ground and holding them in place with my thighs while I attempt to detangle the rat nests cultivating on their domes, I simply keep their hair no longer than chin length.
Pretend you don’t notice. Some days my husband will arrive home from work shocked at the state of a room. “What happened?” he exclaims, the anxiety spilling from his ears. “Gee, I just took out the garbage and when I came back…” I answer, where in reality I have carefully stayed clear of the two girls who were ever so diligently painting the bathroom with a tube of toothpaste. Sure, the clean up will be bothersome, but it took them a solid 25 minutes of cooperative play to make this mess!
Pajama Day! Is it really so horrible for your preschooler to show up to school in last night’s pajamas? I’m sure his teachers have seen it before. With my 2-year-old, the morning tasks are some of the hardest to get accomplished, so I often bring an outfit for her to change into at school if she so desires. Again, this also saves time with the laundry.
Socks? What socks? Fortunately we live in the moderate Bay Area climate, where the temperature rarely drops below 48 degrees. Because of this, and Crocs made for toddlers, my girls almost never wear socks. They each own less than ten pairs and only wear them when we visit my parents in Oregon, during the winter … if it snows. By foregoing this extra layer of footwear, I save approximately thirty seconds each morning, in addition to a good ten minutes each Sunday desperately attempting to match pairs of tiny toddler socks.
Skip the extra-extracurricular activities. My children are allowed one, two at most, lessons a week. In my opinion, their swimming classes are mandatory, but if we don’t make it out of the house for their 9 AM Saturday morning ballet lesson, we all kind of benefit.
Stop picking up the toys. Whenever the clutter in children’s bedrooms begins to trigger my panic attacks, I close their doors and remember the mantra of the iconic Phyllis Diller: “Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.”
Now that I’ve shared mine, tell us, what are your time saving secrets for an easier day?“
Anatomy Of A Tantrum
Source: YouTube (by permission), iStockphoto.com
Children’s temper tantrums are widely seen as many things: the cause of profound helplessness among parents; a source of dread for airline passengers stuck next to a young family; a nightmare for teachers. But until recently, they had not been considered a legitimate subject for science.
Now research suggests that, beneath all the screams and kicking and shouting, lies a phenomenon that is entirely amenable to scientific dissection. Tantrums turn out to have a pattern and rhythm to them. Once understood, researchers say, this pattern can help parents, teachers and even hapless bystanders respond more effectively to temper tantrums — and help clinicians tell the difference between ordinary tantrums, which are a normal part of a child’s development, and those that may be warning signals of an underlying disorder.
The key to a new theory of tantrums lies in a detailed analysis of the sounds that toddlers make during tantrums. In a new paper published in the journal Emotion, scientists found that different toddler sounds – or “vocalizations” – emerge and fade in a definite rhythm in the course of a tantrum.
“We have the most quantitative theory of tantrums that has ever been developed in the history of humankind,” said study co-author Michael Potegal of the University of Minnesota, half in jest and half seriously.
The first challenge was to collect tantrum sounds, says co-author James A. Green of the University of Connecticut.
“We developed a onesie that toddlers can wear that has a high-quality wireless microphone sewn into it,” Green said. “Parents put this onesie on the child and press a go button.”
The wireless microphone fed into a recorder that ran for several hours. If the toddler had a meltdown during that period, the researchers obtained a high-quality audio recording. Over time, Green and Potegal said they collected more than a hundred tantrums in high-fidelity audio.
The scientists then analyzed the audio. They found that different tantrum sounds had very distinct audio signatures. When the sounds were laid down on a graph, the researchers found that different sounds emerged and faded in a definite pattern. Unsurprisingly, sounds like yelling and screaming usually came together.
“Screaming and yelling and kicking often go together,” Potegal said. “Throwing things and pulling and pushing things tend to go together. Combinations of crying, whining, falling to the floor and seeking comfort — and these also hang together.”
But where one age-old theory of tantrums might suggest that meltdowns begin in anger (yells and screams) and end in sadness (cries and whimpers), Potegal found that the two emotions were more deeply intertwined.
“The impression that tantrums have two stages is incorrect,” Potegal said. “In fact, the anger and the sadness are more or less simultaneous.”
Understanding that tantrums have a rhythm can not only help parents know when to intervene, but also give them a sense of control.
Green and Potegal found that sad sounds tended to occur throughout tantrums. Superimposed on them were sharp peaks of yelling and screaming: anger.
The trick in getting a tantrum to end as soon as possible, Potegal said, was to get the child past the peaks of anger. Once the child was past being angry, what was left was sadness, and sad children reach out for comfort. The quickest way past the anger, the scientists said, was to do nothing. Of course, that isn’t easy for parents or caregivers to do.
“When I’m advising people about anger, I say, ‘There’s an anger trap,”’ Potegal said.
Even asking questions can prolong the anger — and the tantrum.
That’s what parents Noemi and David Doudna of Sunnyvale, Calif., found. Their daughter Katrina once had a meltdown at dinnertime because she wanted to sit at one corner of the dining table. Problem was, the table didn’t have any corners – it was round. When David Doudna asked Katrina where she wanted to sit, the tantrum only intensified.
“You know, when children are at the peak of anger and they’re screaming and they’re kicking, probably asking questions might prolong that period of anger,” said Green. “It’s difficult for them to process information. And to respond to a question that the parent is asking them may be just adding more information into the system than they can really cope with.”
In a video of the tantrum that Noemi Doudna posted on YouTube, Katrina’s tantrum intensified to screaming, followed by the child throwing herself to the floor and pushing a chair against a wall.
“Tantrums tend to often have this flow where the buildup is often quite quick to a peak of anger,” Green said.
Understanding that tantrums have a rhythm can not only help parents know when to intervene, but also give them a sense of control, Green said.
That’s because, when looked at scientifically, tantrums are no different than thunderstorms or other natural phenomena. Studying them as scientific subjects rather than experiencing them like parents can cause the tantrums to stop feeling traumatic and even become interesting.
“When we’re walking down the street or see a child having a tantrum, I comment on the child’s technique,” Potegal said. “[I] mutter to my family, ‘Good data,’ and they all laugh.”
Noemi Doudna said she now looks back on Katrina’s tantrums and sees the humor in them.
Katrina often demanded things that made no sense in the course of tantrums, Noemi Doudna said. She once said, “’I don’t want my feet. Take my feet off. I don’t want my feet. I don’t want my feet!’”
When nothing calmed the child down, Noemi Doudna added, “I once teased her — which turned out to be a big mistake — I once said, ‘Well, OK, let’s go get some scissors and take care of your feet.’”
Her daughter’s response, Noemi Doudna recalled, was a shriek: “Nooooo!!”
Ron Huxley’s Reaction: I enjoyed this story on several levels: 1. It helps parents normalize a very frustrating behavior problem and informs them that the best thing they can do is “nothing.” I would add that “nothing” doesn’t mean no empathy. Sit with the child and make sure they don’t hurt themselves accidently but don’t give them any extra attention either. This makes it worse. 2. It links the emotional connection between anger and sadness. Anger is a very irrational behavior that is pure emotional brain with no logic. Anger pushes others away. Sadness draws them closer and is usually what underlies the harsher, more energetic emotion of anger.
OK, one more point: 3. A child’s nervous system is literally trained by an empathic but non-attention getting response to a child’s tantrum. The cause of tantrums is an undeveloped nervous system that requires external input to develop regulation and self-control. That is the job of the parents. Have fun 🙂