Since we talked about Intense Kids things got actually a lot harder over here! I feel like I understand so much more of what my kiddo needs, but when you know better you have to do better, right? And it all just felt like SO much energy to keep things peaceful. And then you feel guilty because you’re spending all this extra time on this ONE kid when you have two other well behaved and deserving kids that need your love and attention, too! Not to mention sometimes you just don’t want to be on your A game all the time, you know?
HOW DO YOU BALANCE!? I don’t have answers but I am open to them! For now, my plan is to get him in his own weekly class that he enjoys, to set up weekly play dates swapping with his buddies so I can have some alone time with my other boys. Any tips from you guys out there?
Today’s topic is about crying, but really it’s about validating emotions. Validating emotions helps ALL of my kids, but especially my intense one. And I need a lot of practice. I wasn’t validated very much growing up, and I felt like my emotions were just not seen. Granted, a lot of times I didn’t even understand them, so how could I expect others too? But I felt so misunderstood and that I was getting in trouble all the time for things that I didn’t even mean. Reactions held a lot more weight then the reasoning or root behind them which I hated and also gives me so much insight as a parent now! I was pleading for someone to really see the pain behind my actions and reactions but didn’t know how to. I remember telling my mom when I was so frustrated that I wanted to scratch my skin off. It felt like it was crawling! Now as an adult I realize I panicking, feeling out of control, and didn’t even know what it was called.
Anyway, I am very quick to tell my kids to stop crying (when people say girls are more emotional, that is hard for me to believe. My big boys cry pretty much every day!) and that is the very perfect place to start validating. So if you do the same thing here are 5 things you can say instead of “STOP CRYING!” This list comes from Happiness is Here Blog, I’m just sharing part of her list, but you find all 10 items in her awesome article here!
And even more options if it doesn’t stop via this article:
Drawing attention repeatedly back to the facts that are driving the upset:
10. You really wanted…that toy/some ice cream/daddy to stay home/to go to the park
11. That…dog/kid/ride/the way I shouted scared you.
12. Let’s have another look at your hurt…knee/finger/toe.
Holding a limit around the situation (and listening to the protests):
13. I can’t let you…go to that party/hit her/have that treat/play with my glasses.
14. I need you to…put your shoes on/finish your homework/get in the car now.
Reminding them of the hopeful perspective on the situation (and listening to their hopeless response):
15. You’ll get chocolate again soon
16. I know you’ll figure this all out.
17. Mom is coming back in an hour.
18. It won’t be like this forever.
Try to avoid:
Labelling feelings (“I see you are angry”)
Distracting them from feelings (“Shall we go and see what Daddy’s doing?”)
Fixing things (“I know you want ice cream, let’s go to the shop”)
Reasoning (“Well, you did have ice cream yesterday.”)
Making their feelings wrong through scolding/shaming/shushing (“What’s that awful noise you are making?”)
Rewards or punishments including threats/bribes/time out (“If you don’t stop that we’ll go home”)
I hope this helps! I know I will be referring to this list when my kids start to lose it! And if no one tells you today — you are an amazing parent. The fact that you seek out tips and tricks is proof of that. You are more than your child’s worst day, worst tantrum. We can always press the reset button, even in the middle of the day. Even at 9:30 in the morning. And one day you will look back at this time and laugh, or maybe cry. But not out of frustration, out of homesickness for the time your kids were small. At least that’s what the ladies in the grocery store line tell me. 😉