Keeping your cool in a situation is tough even for the most patient.
There are some days when you are just not sure that you can keep
it together and stay out of that typical knee jerk response.
Here is a little eye opener to keep you focused on your child's perspective.
Our kids need us to stay calm so that their world feels stable. To us, a
simple incident is no big deal and we may be able to recover quickly,
however, to a child who has only been on the planet for a few years,
his/her brain cannot process information the same way that you can.
Kids scope out their environment by sensing the energy that is within it;
especially the energy that comes from people that they are strongly
connected to. If they sense that you are in a state of overwhelm, they
tend to "act out" or "misbehave", Why? because they do not have a
better coping strategy as of yet.
Sometimes they just don't know what else to do with the intensity of
the energy that they feel and they respond automatically with fear and
that fear has many faces:
Anger, defiance and /or a complete inability to regulate the strong
emotions that they are trying to process.
When you are calm and when you have taken the necessary time to
recharge your own batteries, you are much better equipped to handle
their big emotions. This does not mean that you need to dive in and
try to find a solution for them to self soothe. If you want to de-escalate
a volatile situation here are some basic steps:
1) Stop what you are doing and thinking and breathe. Make
a very conscious effort to just notice what is going on inside
your body and how intense your feelings are.
2) In a calm manner, validate what your child is going through -
this does not mean that you condone behavior this means
that you are taking this moment NOW to tell your child,
"I HEAR YOU and I can see from your eyes".
An example of this would be, " I can hear from your voice
that you are feeling very angry right now about this. I get that
you really wanted to…….I know that this is frustrating for you."
Listen very carefully to your tone - are you sounding
anxious, nervous, furious - take it to neutral.
3) Tell your child that you will be there to help him/her
through his/her feelings. An example of this would be:
" I love you so much and I am going to stay right
here with you and these big feelings." Please note
that this is not followed by a solution - you are not
giving unsolicited advice - you are being an anchor -
a solid rock for your child so that s/he can see there
is someone close-by that s/he can trust who knows
what to do now and who is present.
4) Stay present with your child, you do not need to
look for something to say or something to do. Feel what
your inner guidance is prompting you to do in the moment.
How do you know it is your heart leading the way and
not your head? Focus your attention directly on your
heart - even place your hand there to help you focus
and breathe. You child might ask questions or just
want to vent - be vigilant, don't rush in to answer.
You might feel that is would be best to remain
quiet and just listen.
5) Be prepared for your child to unleash a big
emotion WITHOUT TAKING IT PERSONALLY.
You told your child that you will be there, and
so you must stay and show that you are not
going to fix him/her, you are going to be present
and feel what is required in the moment of this
sacred connection. Just LISTEN and FEEL.
6) If your child says something like,
"You NEVER…… its not fair I can't ever……"
don't get into a power struggle by defending
YOUR position, hold steady and continue to validate,
remember this does not mean that you are agreeing
with or condoning inappropriate behavior, you are
simply acknowledging that you can see through
your child's eyes.
What separates you from your child is the knowing
that you have the capacity to not only see through
his eyes, you probably know what your child should
have done but you do not throw that at your child.
You have the capacity and the wisdom to ask your
child the right questions so that he can come to the
same wise conclusions.
In this way you are not just acting calm you are
BEING a calm leader who responds to your child
like the wise adult that you are. All that you need
to know in the moment will come to you when
you practice connecting to your inner wisdom.
Contact Melinda at:
with your questions on calm leadership and I
would be happy to post them in the monthly
newsletter with a response.