AD | Collaborative post
The way children respond to particular situations is usually a reflection on how they feel about themselves and the ramifications, rather than the situation itself. For instance, if they drop a plate, they might feel embarrassed and upset, and worried about how you will respond, therefore leading to an emotional outburst. Feelings are very complicated, especially for young people who don’t really understand them. I have teamed up with a prep school in West London to offer some advice on how to help your child manage these emotions going forward, so that they learn to handle awkward situations in a calm manner.
Label their Feelings
Sometimes children have tantrums because they are unable to communicate how they are feeling. With that said, it would be wise to help your child understand their emotions so they can verbalise them calmly rather than cry or shout. Label their feelings, both positive and negative, because if they are able to say “I am angry at you” they will be less likely to act out aggressively. If they are able to say “you have hurt my feelings”, they will be less likely to cry.
Teach Coping Strategies
Teach your child that everyone makes mistakes, even adults. Share some examples of when you made mistakes of your own. Explain that these missteps make us stronger because we are able to learn from them, and that we should not dwell on them. You should also help your child establish some coping strategies. Remind them that lashing out will only make a situation worse. Instead, when they are feeling frustrated or upset, they should take a deep breath and perhaps remove themselves from the situation so that they can calm down and gather their thoughts.
Prepare for Emotional Outbursts
Try and pre-empt situations where your child might have an emotional outburst and prepare them first. For instance, if they have had a strop in the past when losing a board game, before you start the next board game remind them that it’s just a bit of fun and there will always be a winner and a loser, it’s the taking part that counts. The trick is to anticipate problems before they arise and warn your child to remain calm no matter what.
Praise Your Child for Positive Responses
Be sure to praise them when you see them responding to a problem situation in an appropriate manner. This will encourage them to remain composed in the future because they will know it will make you proud. Generally speaking, praising and reinforcing positive behaviour is more likely to work in your favour than punishing poor behaviour.