We recently had one of those mornings. You know what I’m talking about: the
small human that rules the house toddler seems to have woken up on the wrong side of the bed and everything that Mommy does is wrong and therefore causing those end of the world emotions to be spewed at you non-stop until you question your own sanity and life choices.
I’ts so easy, as parents, to get caught up in those very intense emotions of our sweet babies, who are still figuring out how to express themselves in a healthy way. I feel like I’ve had a lot of practice in this area during the lovely age of 3 and now that we have entered this time of age 4, these mornings are definitely less frequent but every once in a while they sneak up on us.
There are a few things we need to remember in situations such as these:
- Our children are not trying to make us crazy. They are simply still figuring things out. For them, not getting to use the pink plate and cup seems like the end of the world and that we don’t understand how important it is to them. It’s our job, as adults and parents, to demonstrate how to express themselves in a healthy way.
- All feelings are valid. Even if those emotions tend to make adults uncomfortable. Our children are allowed to feel mad, sad, scared, and upset with us. As parents, we need to help them identify these feelings and understand where they are coming from
- We don’t need to fix anything. Our children are perfect just as they are at whatever age they are. They are not incomplete, deranged adults that need to be tamed. Once we can see them as complete 2, 3, or 4 year olds, we can start to let go of our unrealistic expectations and simply enjoy our children for who they are.
So, on a morning in which no one is having any fun, this is the one simple thing that we do that works every single time:
Stop whatever we are doing and cuddle in the rocking chair.
“When a mother embraces her child, that energy of tenderness begins to penetrate into the body of the child. Even if the mother doesn’t understand at first why the child is suffering and she needs some time to find out what the difficulty is, just her act of taking the child into her arms with tenderness can already bring relief. If we can recognize and cradle the suffering while we breathe mindfully, there is relief already.” -Thich Nhat Hanh
We usually start with a big hug and just sitting together in silence, slowing down and breathing. Once we are both calm, we can talk about what is really going on, what she is feeling, why she is feeling that way. I can tell her how I’m feeling and we can try to understand where each other is coming from. Sometimes, this leads to a big conversation and sometimes it just leads to a big release of emotions through crying. Usually, it ends in a burst of giggles and we both walk away feeling much better, less stressed and connected to one another again. Remember, not to put any expectations on either one of you because it won’t always look like this, but the important thing is to re-connect with your child in a positive way.
Have you used this technique? Does it work in your house? What else do you find helps with your connection?