This is an excellent post about frustration and tantrums. It validates something I posted previously about my own frustration watching my children explode into emotional helplessness. The thing I want to point out here, is that this article is written for any parent. I have to keep reminding myself that ANY and EVERY parent struggles with the tough stuff. We all get frustrated.
The reason that this is important, is that although I accept my long term PTSD, and that I may have strong triggers for my entire life – I am not THAT different. I am on the spectrum for experiencing MORE frustration, more emotional upset when my children show frustration or other strong emotions. Somehow knowing that everyone feels this way, to a lesser extent, and that I’m not completely out of range, well, that is calming to me.
I’m also going to point out that when my son goes to his place of frustration, he can’t be reached by my words any longer. I understand the technique in here, copied below, but I still have no tools to get my son down from a level 100 explosion. Other than time. Usually an hour. If you’ve ever heard your darling scream, moan, and whimper for an hour with no change, no return to center, no calming, no acceptance of help, no acknowledgement of you or anything else in the world – well, I’m sorry, and you know it is one of the most difficult feelings to handle in the world. I know how bad it feels to me, so it breaks my heart to think he is feeling so out of control inside of himself.
“Usually, if you convey to your child that you are bigger than his big feelings, the storm will pass in a few minutes. Stay present and as calm as you can (yep, that feels superhuman at times!) and acknowledge what he’s feeling without trying to assert your point of view or distract him. Try something like, “You really wish we could stay at the park all afternoon.” Then zip it! Avoid the temptation to add “but we really need to get home.” The “but” undoes all of the empathy you just offered. Once you’ve validated his emotions—which almost always has a calming effect even though it seems like you’re fueling the fire because you’re simply agreeing with his feelings—he’ll feel seen and heard and will start to relax. Once you feel that shift, you can gently nudge him toward the next steps, such as getting his coat and saying goodbye to playmates.”
I do however, completely agree with the “no but” rule. Adding “but” negates validations. This is true for adults or children. If you offer empathy or an apology, and follow it with a but, then the first half of that thought is erased. Hubby still “buts” us. Takes a ton of self control and inner awareness and calm to keep that but from being said. I know.
So, try to just think the but, don’t say the but.
- Helping Young Children Cope With Frustration (education.com)
- The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child’s Developing Mind (thesensoryspectrumblog.com)
- “Hardwired to misbehave” (mavillarajya.wordpress.com)