Every parent, and every child at one time or another has experienced overwhelm.
When adults are overwhelmed we know we need to take a step back, breathe, take a walk, exercise, or do whatever we do to manage the intensity. Adults have even been known to become impulsive when overwhelmed, too.
When kids become overwhelmed, they exhibit the more unregulated signs of overwhelm because they’re kids. They get intense, emotional, can become impulsive and act out.
What do we do when kids get like that?
We get mad at them. We tell them their behavior, emotions, or impulsivity is wrong. We tell them they’re being bad, we yell and/or punish them for it, too.
Why do we do that?
We do that because parents and children are inextricably linked and connected. When one feels something, the other feels something as well.
When a child is overwhelmed and/or impulsive, a parent can instantly begin feeling out of control. You hear that tiny voice inside your head that says, “Uh, oh here we go again.” The pit of your stomach fills with fear or anger, and you begin to feel vulnerable. You begin to doubt whether you can deal with this effectively, and that causes you to feel inadequate. Since no one likes to feel inadequate, you try and shut your child down.
Is that really the best way to deal with impulsivity?
Everything in parenting hinges on how you deal with it. The words and actions you take definitely affect the outcome. So reframing what’s really going on, is always a wise first step.
Think about what happens when a child becomes overwhelmed. He becomes consumed by one of the the emotional heave hitters, fear, anger, anxiety, guilt, or lack of self-worth. He can’t think rationally, he becomes impulsive, acts out, so you punish, remove privileges, or prized possessions.
Often, what parents don’t do is allow their child to experience what happens when he gets impulsive, as long as no one gets hurt, of course. Parents don’t show him how to access his muscles of self-control. As a result, he never learns how to help himself move from impulsivity to self-regulating. Parents need to remember, and realize, that any emotional expression is a signal that a child needs to learn something.
What if each time your child was impulsive or overwhelmed you substituted the word “bad” for the word “grow”? Nod to Marisa Murgatroyd for her business blog this morning!
What if you said to yourself, “My child isn’t being bad, she’s growing and I need to help her.”
That would certainly shift the way you handle things. Reframing just those words would absolutely stop you from feeling so overwhelmed. Changing how you saw the situation would allow your authentic parental authority to emerge, instead of your reactionary authority.
And that’s just one step, I have 6 more for you!
My new e-book, 6 Unique Ways to Teach Kids Self-Control shares 6 ways to teach kids how to find their own muscles of self regulation so they can shift from impulsivity to self-control.
This e-book is short, because no one has time to read a anything else, and and it’s my gift to you!
For many, many parents dealing with an impulsive child means correcting behavior over and over again, all day long! That’s not only exhausting, it also sends an inaccurate message to your child.
Find out what the message is, and gain 6 Unique Ways to Teach Kids Self-Control without yelling and punishing.
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Photo Source: Redheadedfreckledboy