Up until the age of 7, the cognitive part of the human brain has not yet fully developed. Only from age 7 and up complex behavioral and cognitive abilities become possible. As the central nervous system matures they begin to understand logical and rational thought, but only about things you can see or touch.
This means your child is operating solely from their emotional body. So if you tell them they can’t have something it is impossible for children to cognitively understand and reason why.
Don’t stop a tantrum to stop tantrums
Emotions is the only guidance system children have, and they probably do not know how to express them which in turn leads to emotional outbursts, tantrums, fits and more tantrums! So why is it good to have a tantrum? If you know anything about emotions, you know the worst thing is to suppress an emotion. Your child is expressing emotions the best way they know how, which is more than I can say for many adults.
Using the Tantrum as a Tool
The body has an inherent way of healing itself, “surprisingly” it knows exactly what is needed and the means to release energy and emotions. Stomping feet and squirreling on the ground, is actually really good ways to release emotions. This can be compared to TRE (Trauma Release Therapy) which is a series of exercises to unlock this inherent healing process of releasing trauma/tension by some form of movement like shaking or trembling. It is society that has decided that jumping and screaming is bad and ill mannered.
So letting your kid spasm out on the ground in the middle of a supermarket can be hard but the worst thing you can do is stopping, disgracing or punishing them.
Stay calm and let nature take its course. Let the child know it’s safe and help him through the emotion. For example empathizing with them by telling him that you know it doesn’t feel good not to get everything you want, and sit in the emotion without suppressing or running away from it,justifying or making it bad.
How to move through an emotion
You are dealing with an emotional body not a reasoning brain. It is what it is, its not right or wrong. Just feel, sink deeper and deeper into the emotion without judgement. Teach your child not to abandon or disassociate when feeling the emotion. Stay present. After a while the emotion will subside and you would have successfully moved through an emotion. After a few times of helping them through this you will be amazed at how quickly and with ease they start moving through emotions.
Remember if you have punished your child before for having an emotional outburst, your child might already formed a belief that expressing emotions is wrong and hurtful. The results will be an unattached emotionally unavailable adult, sounds familiar? Let your child know that it is human and it is OK to express emotions in whichever way feels good. Make them feel safe and comfortable when letting out. This will work on adults too, but will take much longer to get rid of the conditioning.
The best way to teach your children how to manage and move effortlessly through emotions is being a good example.Author: Leanne