Figure Out Your Child's Tantrums
by: Shelly Birger
Are you tired of tantrums? Not sure why your child is "acting out"? Wish you could just figure it out?
Here's something you can try today...
No More Tantrums
Get more connected with your kids by Guessing Feelings.
By guessing your child's feelings, you can help her learn a new way to express herself... verbally!
Even if your guesses are wrong, your child will respond to your efforts to tune into her.
When young kids have tantrums, they're frustrated, low on creativity, and can't figure out another way to express how strongly they feel. (Other than whining or screaming!)
Remember that tantrums won't necessarily disappear, just because your little angel is able to say, "Mommy, I'm mad!"
He will have more options, however, and if you can catch him early enough, you might be able to head off some tantrums before they start.
Here are six steps to help you use Guessing Feelings to help create more emotional connectedness for your whole family:
1) Create a Feelings List. Get out a piece of paper and start listing out the most common emotions (e.g. sad, angry, happy, afraid)... then use your trusty thesaurus to find related emotions. As you think about each word, you'll notice that each one has a different "flavor" to it.
2) Print it out and use it to expand your own emotional vocabulary. Begin to identify and express your own feelings throughout the day. "Oh! I'm feeling so happy and content right now!"
3) Practice guessing. "Sweetie, are you feeling frustrated?", or "Wow, it looks like you're feeling really excited! Are you feeling excited right now?" Be prepared to guess again or be corrected without taking it personally if you don't get it right the first time.
Remember, it's not if your guesses are right that counts, it's the fact that you're trying to tune in and build emotional vocabulary.
4) Use a wide variety of feeling words with your child every day both by sharing your own feelings and by guessing hers.
5) Next time you're reading a bed-time story, look for the emotional content and ask your child to guess. "How to you think Thomas is feeling right now?" If you get no response, make your own guesses, "I wonder if he's feeling lonely because he misses his friends."
6) Play games with your family in which you each make faces and try to guess feelings, or list feelings and play at exaggerating them.
Tantrum Free Family
By expanding the emotional vocabulary you use with your child on a daily basis, you're setting him up to be able to express his feelings effectively, without completely losing it.
With many repetitions, your child will begin to say things like, "Mommy, I'm feeling frustrated because I need attention!" or "Daddy, I feel sad, can I have a hug?"
Imagine how much easier it'll be to figure out what your child really needs, instead of them resorting to whining, tantrums or "acting out".
By practicing Guessing Feelings, your entire family will connect more strongly.
Big hugs and love,
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