What This Is Like from a Parent’s Perspective

 


You do NOT want to raise a spoiled brat. You know that you have to tell your child “no” sometimes, but often when you do, they can’t seem to handle it.

They start crying and whining…

…Or sometimes they even become disrespectful to you.

You want to teach them that they can’t get everything they want… But all they seem to be learning is how to throw a bigger and bigger fit. It’s frustrating and discouraging.

 

What This Is Like From a Child’s Perspective

 

Children have ideas for how things are going to go: They want to spend time with their parents, and their parents tell them they’re doing something else. They’ve been looking forward to a day at their friend’s house all week, and they’re told they can’t go.

Eventually their disappointment and frustration piles up, and they let it all come out…

They start crying and whining when they feel like they have no control.

They may even become disrespectful to the person who keeps telling them what to do.

They have big feelings and don’t know how to handle them…

 

 

How It Usually Goes When

Kids Melt Down When They Can’t Get Their Way

 

Scenario: Ryan gets has a piano lesson at 5:00. Ryan asks his dad if he can do his homework AFTER the piano lesson, but his dad reminds him that they are going out for dinner and will have no time. When he hears that, Ryan starts crying and yelling at his dad.

 

Dad: Ryan! You will NOT talk to me like that!

Ryan (yells): I don’t want to go to dinner. I want to do homework later!

Dad: I don’t care that you don’t want to go. We made these plans and you’re going. And you have to do your homework first.

Ryan (sits down and starts crying and whining): I don’t WANT to do my homework.

Dad: Ryan, we all have to do things we don’t want to do. That’s life. Get used to it.

Ryan (starts to walk away, crying and yelling): I am NOT doing my homework. And I’m not doing my piano lesson either!

Dad: Oh yes you are, young man…

Ryan (ignores him and keeps walking).

 

How It Could Go Instead When

Kids Melt Down When They Can’t Get Their Way

Scenario: Ryan gets has a piano lesson at 5:00. Ryan asks his dad if he can do his homework AFTER the piano lesson, but his dad reminds him that they are going out for dinner and will have no time. When he hears that, Ryan starts crying and yelling at his dad.

 

 

Dad (calmly but firmly): Ryan.

Ryan (continues to yell).

Dad (repeats, calmly but firmly): Ryan. (He bends down so that he is lower than Ryan, and he waits.)

Ryan (cries for a few more moments but then starts to calm down).

Dad: You really don’t want to do homework before piano.  

Ryan: No!

Dad: Is it because you don’t like math?

Ryan: Yeah. But that’s not it.

Dad: What is it then?

Ryan: I just want time to do nothing.

Dad: You played video games after school for 20 minutes though.

Ryan: That wasn’t enough!

 

CALM

Ryan’s dad wants to emphasize that you can’t just “do what you want” all the time. However, he knows that will only lead to a power struggle and that Ryan still won’t do his homework. 

Instead, he focuses on staying calm so that he can help Ryan get out of Yuck and so he can act rationally again.

 

 

Dad: Ryan, I know it’s hard to do homework when you’ve had a long day of school.

Ryan: Yeah!

Dad: You wish you could relax for the rest of the day.

 

CONNECT

Instead of trying convince Ryan that he needs to be more responsible, he sees the situation from Ryan’s perspective.

He knows that he needs to respect Ryan’s point of view if he wants Ryan to stop melting down.   

 

Ryan: Yeah.

Dad: Hmmm… We have to get homework done. And you do NOT want to. How can you make that work?

Ryan: I just won’t do it!

Dad: That’s one option, but it’s not one that works in this family. We do homework. Can I give another suggestion?

Ryan: What?

Dad: Why don’t you do your homework in a new way today? Maybe under the table instead of on the table?

 

CORRECT

While Ryan’s dad respects Ryan’s perspective, he still sets a firm boundary. Then he helps Ryan by offering some tools to help him follow the rules. 

He focuses on being firm while teaching him tools to be successful

 

Ryan: What? Really?

Dad: What do you think? Could you get it done that way?

Ryan (laughs): Haha. Yeah. Probably.

Dad: OK, I’m going to check it when you’re done, OK?

Ryan: Fine.

 

And if Ryan still doesn’t do his homework…

Ryan’s dad must re-state the boundary that homework must get done. When Ryan gets frustrated again, Ryan’s dad needs to let him be frustrated. He should wait until Ryan releases his Yuck… and then direct him again to do homework.

 

 

This Won’t Work Unless…

 

Though Ryan’s dad used Calm, Connect, Correct, proactive deposits will make all of the difference in how this situation plays out in the moment.

If you want to give your child tools to be successful (so they melt down less), remember: 

 

Depositing into CALM

You will not be able to stay calm if

a.) your own biological or emotional “needs accounts” are low (if you feel out of control or disrespected)

b.) you have the expectation that your children will have the same priorities that you do

When you make sure your own needs are met and you set realistic expectations PROACTIVELY, you are more likely to be able to stay calm. 

 

Depositing into CONNECT

You will be able to connect if

a.) you respect that ALL behavior has a reason and

b.) you understand those reasons (in a case like this, that children’s feelings and perspectives need to be respected to help them stop melting down)

When you become comfortable with the reasons behind behavior PROACTIVELY, you will be able to connect more effectively. 

 

Depositing into CORRECT

You will be able to correct behavior by offering a tool if

a.) You have demonstrated consistently in the past that you mean what you say when you set a boundary like “You have to do what you have to do, even when you don’t want to.”

b.) You have made enough deposits into your kids’ emotional needs that setting a boundary doesn’t put them immediately into Yuck.

When you demonstrate that you mean what you say and when you make deposits into your kids’ emotional needs PROACTIVELY, you  will be able to correct behavior more effectively.