Look underneath your child’s behaviors, i.e. the symptoms, to the underlying emotions your child is experiencing. Recognize feelings and find your calm center.
“Maybe you’re afraid that I’m not going to be here when you need me.”
Be Emotionally Present
Don’t’ take your child’s anger or rejection personally. Refuse to be rejected.
“I’m not available for insults.”
Have Realistic Expectations
Your child will shut down, tantrum and whine. Put words to your child’s actions.
“You really are doing an amazing job of letting me know how mad you are. Wow!”
Make Eye Contact
And use a playful attitude to maintain connection.
Nurture with Actions and Words
“I really missed you when you were napping.”
Predictable routines and actions allow children to relax and feel trusting in you and the world.
Develop rituals at transition times, going to school and bedtime. Express limits and expectations clearly and calmly. Let your child know how consequences work and enforce them in a compassionate tone.
“It’s too bad you threw your cereal, now it’s time to do some cleaning.”
Be Affectionate and Loving
It may sound obvious, but sometimes we get lazy and forget to show our children how much we love them. Make your affection multisensory, use touch, facial expressions and words altogether. Make an impact.