Life As A Conscious Mom

Life As A Conscious Mom


Understanding Your Child’s Frustration – What you Need to Know and 3 Steps to Help.

Put yourself in your child’s place and imagine for a minute the following: You have a toy that you absolutely love, it’s yours, you carry it with you everywhere. Although you aren’t consciously aware of it, the toy gives you a sense of comfort, confidence and safety. For the first time ever, someone you don’t know comes along and yanks it away from you. You have never experienced this before; you don’t know what to do. All you know is that your comfort and safety have been taken away from you so you react. You know from past experience that crying sometimes fixes things, so you may cry. You’ve also noticed that things move away if you hit or you bite, so you may try that too.

Your child will go through thousands of these scenarios where they are experiencing something for the first time – some of these things may be hurtful, others scary and still others may be wonderful, but the point is, in many instances, your child is experiencing something for the first time.

If you can remember that most of life is new to your child (and this goes on for quite some time – think first love, first job, first time driving, first experience of loss) it will help you in your own responses. For us, life is old-hat. We’ve been there, done that and when things happen in our lives we continue on, sometimes, without even batting an eye. But those initial experiences; how you handled them, how they were handled for you and what you experienced; inform each and every experience you have thereafter.

When we see our child respond with frustration or anger, it is often because this is the only response they know, or the response they know works.

To help your child manage frustration there are three parts to this. First is acknowledging what happened, second is to help find a solution and third is to remember this the ‘newness’ of life so that you can help explain what happened.

In the case above where a toy was taken, here’s what it would look like:

1) Your child needs to be heard and we do that by acknowledging this experience by saying something like “I’m sorry that happened, that can’t feel too good and helping them to define how they are feeling – frustrated, angry, scared. Or if they are older by asking them what they are feeling. Either way, in this step you are telling them their feelings matter. You are also helping helping them to put words to what they are experiencing internally. This may be the first time they’ve felt anger, or fear or loss. By helping them understand that these are feelings they learn that not only is this part of life, but that it is natural and that there are ways to express and handle what they are experiencing.

2) Next is seeing if there is a remedy for the situation. Don’t place expectations on others such as expecting an apology. In this case, if your child is not of the age to ask for the toy back, you facilitate the return WITH your child, not for your child. If he is old enough, then have him do the initial ask and watch from the sidelines, stepping in if you need to (also remembering that this experience may be new to the other child too.)

3) The last piece is to help your child understand what happened. I tend to do as much as I can to help explain, but not make excuses for, human nature. These moments are wonderful teachable moments. In the case of toy-taking or taking of any kind, Caidin and I have talked about unconsciousness, desire, greed and lack and limit. We’ve talked about the ways in which one can ‘get’ something – they can ask, it can be give or it can be taken – and we’ve talked about which feels better, which works and why.

Life is full of teachable moments. In fact, if we want, every moment is a teachable moment. Our opportunity is two-fold: to take advantage of these moments and to make these moments part of your everyday conversation. That way they don’t seem forced.

When it comes to your child’s experience of frustration these three steps will help – really at any age. So just remember 1) Acknowledge, 2) Discuss solutions 3) Help to provide context and understanding about the situation – without making excuses.

The earlier you start this (and it really is never too early to start nor is it ever too late) you will help your child to build a rich vocabulary of experiences, expression and understanding.

 

© 2012 Christine Agro

Have questions about your child or need support? Christine offers private readings as well as on-line support at The Consicous Mom’s Guide

Christine Agro is a clairvoyant, naturopath, Master Herbalist, conscious mom and author of 50 Ways to Live Life Consciously as well as of The Conscious Living Wisdom Cards (Special Moms’ Edition). Christine is founder of The Conscious Mom’s Guide , a membership site where she helps support you on your own journey of living life consciously and on your journey of being a Conscious parent. You can also join Christine on Facebook. To contact Christine or to schedule an appointment with her please email her.



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