About a week ago, right before bedtime, my five-year-old girl threw a major tantrum – screams, kicking, crying. The works!
I cannot remember now what caused it, but I remember the emotions very well. I was tired, frustrated, and angry. I racked my brains for solutions that I may have read in the many parenting books and sites that I have read.
After a few minutes, I found myself calming down enough to ask my daughter very gently, “What are you doing?” I learned this technique after watching Mariel ask the same question to her daughter.
It helps the children stop and check their behavior themselves versus the adult simply dictating the little ones to stop whatever it is they are doing.
Surprisingly, it worked for the Energizer Bunny, as she paused, tried to calm herself down, and quietly asked for what she wanted politely.
In the heat of the moment, though, I said no. “Because you already threw a tantrum, ” I said, “and you don’t get what you want after a tantrum.” She fell asleep, disappointed and hurt, in my arms. And boy, did I feel horrible!
After the incident, I realized what I did was wrong. As soon as I got home from work the next day, I called my daughter for a talk. I said, “I need to say sorry to you. Last night, after you realized that you were throwing a tantrum, you stopped yourself and asked politely. That must have been very hard to do and you did it. I did not see it that way. Will you forgive me?” She was already crying halfway through my speech and then she hugged me and said yes. And it was all that we both needed.
I can’t say that bedtime tantrums have stopped. But it is reassuring to know that I can learn how to deal with it without ruining my relationship with my daughter, at the same time empowering her to help control herself too.
Do you believe in encouragement and empowerment in disciplining your children too?