When my 4-year old boy lost his marbles this morning because his sister sipped the last drops from a water bottle, he shrieked so loudly all of us covered our ears and winced.
Clearly, he was frustrated. He said so and yelled some more. eeeeeekkkkkkk!
He’s learning to express his feelings, and it’s awkward. It’s uncomfortable. He’s learning to be emotionally smart and communicative and he’s stretching his comfort zone. He’s stumbling through it, especially when he’s angry. Hey, he’s just human.
We had 2 options:
1. Give him heck
2. Support him
With option 1, all we would do is make him stuff his feelings down without showing him how to manage his emotions. And next time something went wrong, he’d just scream louder. We have to parent him; he has to learn a way to deal with this.
The temper issues can trigger both my husband and I — we feel our little guy’s feelings. So we looked at each other, took a communal deep breath and paused.
Paused, and chose option 2: to SUPPORT and LOVE him.
Brad scooped him up and gently talked to him about what was going on. Encouraged him to do what we do: to stop and breathe when he’s feeling something big like this, and name the feeling.
He calmed down. It took a few minutes, but he calmed down and was back to his charming self. Crisis avoided. Love provided.
This was lesson 1 in Mindfulness for both parent and children. All of us had to be mindful and aware of what was going on inside and how that came out into the world. Mindful of how it affected our family and ourselves.
How to APPEASE an Angry Pre-Schooler in 3 Ease Steps:
Step 1: Pause (choose to be present)
Step 2: Breathe (stay calm inside so you can help your child – remember, they’ll mirror your energy)
Step 3: Love (support, listen, give a voice to your child)