It's important to understand that no matter what age we are, when we feel attacked or flooded or unsafe, our attention narrows, and we cannot access our whole brains to be able to think clearly. Therefore, the best time to teach a child is before or after a meltdown. The middle of the tantrum is not a time to use a lot of words. We can respond to children with consequences and empathy. We can teach children what we DO want more than what we DON'T want. We can catch them doing what we do want. And we can be aware of our own emotions so that we don't spiral into an adult-sized meltdown with them.
Some resources for further learning:
- Dan Siegel describes the way that our brains work in a parent and child-friendly way
- Dan Siegel describes the "name it to tame it" calming strategy
- Dan Siegel describes what we can do when we are getting upset with our child
- Tucker the Turtle Tucks and Thinks About Solutions from the Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning (Video or PDF)
- Dr. Becky Bailey on coaching your kids through anger.
- Dr. Becky Bailey on coaching your kids through sadness.
Check back next Monday for thoughts on fighting in front of children.