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When you think about your life as a parent is it joyful, happy, and positive? or is it filled with frustration, anger, and negativity? Like most parents, you probably experience both the joy and the nightmare of parenting.
Parenting is the HARDEST job on the planet! and when you are dealing with tantrums, backtalk, and arguing it is really challenging mentally and emotionally.
Before we dive into methods that you can use when you are dealing with tantrums, backtalks, and arguing. I want to say that I appreciate you being here and that you are looking for answers.
You are trying your hardest to become a better parent, to develop a deep connection with your children, and to help your children become self-sufficient adults!
I know how frustrating it can be. Mama, I hear you… and you are not alone! I have had my fair share of locking myself in the bathroom to cry because of the guilt, shame, exhaustion and the feeling of being overwhelmed at the end of the day.
That is why in this post we are going to talk about what we can do as parents to help our children, AND how to understand what our children’s needs are.
These methods I teach you below are what we do with our children and I want to share what helps us! I am currently enrolled in Jai Institute for Parenting to become a certified parenting coach and the methods I am being taught I apply with my children and share my experiences with you! I hope these methods help you as much as they help us.
In This Article
How To Deal With Tantrums, Backtalk, And Arguing
Provide A Sincere Dose Of Empathy
Empathy is so powerful but very unused! it is the gateway to thinking and problem-solving.
When we are sincerely empathic towards our children we are letting them know that their emotions have value, that we hear them, and that we will listen to their needs without judgment.
The next time you hear with siblings “he keeps touching me!“, “She took my toy without asking“, “I want a popsicle now!” or really any other form of a problem, resist the urge to say “I already told you no” “stop screaming” or fixing the problem for them.
Instead offer empathy and this may sound like:
“oh, man i understand how upsetting that can be. It seems like you are feeling sad is that so?“, “That is so sad” or “I am so sorry that happened.”
The movie Inside Out is a family favorite of ours and it has one of the best examples of empathy I have ever seen. This short clip is where Sadness is being empathetic to Bing Bong’s feelings. You can watch the short clip below!
Developing the skill of empathy is one of the most important parenting skills you can have. When you care with empathy you are not trying to fix the issue with your child right away. You are holding a safe space for them to open up to you and talk about what they are feeling.
Hold A Safe Space For Emotions
When you hold space for your child this means that you are allowing them to express their emotions and you are staying calm while letting them express themselves.
This safe space is a no judgment, no fixing, no talking zone. When we allow our children to express their feelings we are validating their emotions and they feel heard!
Once your child has had a chance to express themselves then you can move on to talking about their emotions and needs.
Now sometime your child may be hitting you, others, or items and in this case, you will need to calmly remove the child from those they may be hurting or things they may damage. If they are hitting you you can go to a different area of the room but still hold space for your child.
Be Aware Of Your Child’s Needs
Children have 9 basic needs and those needs are:
- Unconditional Love
More often than not, when children are “misbehaving” it’s often is due to a need of theirs that is not being met. For example, if you have a toddler who is crying and throwing a tantrum because you told them they couldn’t cut paper with scissors.
Their need to be independent isn’t being met. This doesn’t mean giving in and let them continue to cut the paper. It means that you show empathy and address their feelings and work out a solution where mom or dad gets to help them cut the paper.
That way their need to be independent is being met but your need to keep your child safe is also being met so its a win-win situation!
When you identify a need for your children that are not being met. You can calmly address that need and work out a solution to help meet both of your needs.
Have Empathy For Yourself
In the heat of the moment, it is hard to have empathy for yourself. You may have reacted a certain way to your child that left you feeling guilty afterward.
We all have been there!
Staying calm and allow yourself empathy takes to practice the same as being aware of your feelings, thought, and needs given the current situation.
Once you become aware of how YOU are feeling. Next is to find a calming strategy that helps you to lower your emotions and become grounded again. When you are able to hold space for yourself you are able to do the same for your child.
These are some great calming strategies you can use to help lower your emotions and your child’s.
Here are some different calming strategies that you can use.
- Taking deep breaths
- Snapping your fingers
- Drinking a cold glass of water
- Listening to calming music
- Doing the dishes (yes! this is a calming strategy for some!)
- Folding the laundry
- Going into a quiet room
Calming strategies for children:
- Taking 3 deep breaths
- Drinking a glass of water
- Listening to calming music
- Jumping jacks
- Going outside
- Counting to 10
- Read a book
- Hug a stuffed animal
Problem Solve Together
You don’t want to just leave after talking with your child. The situation needs a solution so after you have talked with your child and have shown them empathy.
The next step is to explore possible solutions with your child how they can fix the situation. So the next time something the same scenario arises again why will know how to handle it.
One method we use when problem-solving is we ask Bobbie if she would like her to hear what other kids would do. If she says yes we give two-three ideas such as “well some little girls your age may go give a big hug and say sorry” Or “some kids your age may play with a different toy until the toy they want is available.”
Then we end by asking “how would that work for you?”
We listen to what Bobbie would like to do and we follow up with trust by saying “I love you so much if any kid can do this you can! Let me know how it works out”
As you become more consistent with these methods the better you will become as a parent and the better you will be able to understand your child and make sure that their needs (as well as your own) are being met.
When needs are being met there is no need for your child to trow tantrums, backtalk, and argue with you.
Why Do Kids Throw Tantrums, Back Talk, And Argue?
I addressed this a little bit above, but when children are expressing their big emotions it’s because there is a need that’s not being met.
There are 9 basic needs of a child and they are.
- Unconditional Love
I learned this H,M,L brain from an article by Ruth Beaglehole called Understanding Brain Development. This article really helps you to better understand why our children have big emotions and how we can help them. Since children from age, 0-7 children are living in the middle area of the brain which is where all the feelings, feelings, and a whole bunch of feelings reside.
If we divide the brain into three sections you have the lower area which includes the spinal cord and cerebellum, and this area of the brain is the most developed when a baby is born.
This lower area of the brain is the alarm center of the brain. It responds to danger such as the flight, fright, or freeze. This lower area of the brain ensures survival, and that is why it is the most developed out of the three sections.
The next is the middle area of the brain. This area is where the limbic system is, and as I said above this is where all the feelings/emotions are housed. The middle area could also be called the emotional area of the brain.
The next is the third level which is the higher area of the brain. This is where all the decision making, reasoning, logic, rational thought, problem-solving, empathy, creativity, etc are housed. And this area doesn’t really doesn’t developmentally take off until the age of 7. So can you better understand why children backtalk, argue and throw tantrums?
Now, if your child is below the age of 7 does this mean they will never be in the higher area of their brain until the age of 7.?
What it means is that you will need to help them reach and process in this higher area of the brain. Even children older than 7 need help! The higher area of the brain has skills that even adults such as myself still work on.
Parenting is not a short term success, it’s a long term journey. Of course, there are small wins, but parenting is all about the long term. What you do in the short term determines what your child is like in the future.
I know that this can seem really overwhelming especially if you have never done something like this in your parenting before. Keep in mind that when you are dealing with tantrums, backtalk, and arguing. Often times when It comes to parenting challenges we first need to “fix” ourselves before we “fix” our children.
This is because 95% of the time when we parent unconsciously we are parenting how we were once parented. And if you want to change your parented patterns then it starts with you. How you processed experiences in your childhood has a profound effect on your parenting today.
If you want to put the joy back into parenting. Connect with your children and build a strong loving relationship that will last a lifetime.
I also want to mention that one of my all-time favorite children picture books about empathy. It’s called “The Rabbit Who Listened” you can check it out here.
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