Sunday, April 26, 2009

Tot School [Tuesday] Volume 7

It was a week of disrupted schedules and new found emotions for the L'il Man. He's beginning to express himself in an attempt to figure out and embrace, yes, even understand those emotions he experiences. From rage to despair, intense joy and contentment, it is clear that the independence desired during the life of our toddler is coming to it's formative stages.

Emotional discoveries can often be exhausting, as you can see by Keller's demonstration here.

Intuitively, we know these emotions have been in place all along ~ that the wash of feeling has not lain dormant these 18 months . . . However, when the awareness that he has ownership of these emotions comes of age, the 'rules of the game' shift, and we, the parents, now need to assist the child in molding and expressing his emotions in a healthy way.

I read a beautiful phrase some time ago, that accurately describes the parental role in the potentially turbulent shift into high-gear-toddlerhood. It is stated this way: "No, son, you cannot kick when you are angry. I will help you to not kick, until you learn to not kick on your own." while removing the child from the area calmly, and redirecting his energies to a more suitable form of anger expression, and/or assisting him in calming down.

The idea of superimposing your ability to maintain calm onto the child is a form of modeling behavior, and it is an important task for the parent. The child learns by watching, and experiencing, and doing.

I know of no parent (myself at the top of the list) who has reached perfection in the arena of restraining intense emotion ~ especially that of the moment when our toddler has reached an all time high in tantrum throwing, while we are trying to get supper on the table, the phone is ringing off the hook, and the dog is running off with the freshly baked biscuits we just put on the table! Our children have a way of pushing our buttons, and we are suddenly faced with controlling our emotions on a level unexpected in the course of our day.

It behooves us to develop patience and self control that we might be a mirror for our child in emotional management and health, for conflict resolution - yes - even at this very young age.

The idea of telling our child, "I will help you control your emotions until you can control them yourself" is a gift we give our children, and our home environment. You can read more about discipline and effective techniques here.

This week, may peace reign in your house, as you diligently, and with purpose educate your tot in relational realities.


Bernadete said...

Yes emotions are a challange for a LO! I loved your post very nicely put!

Mozer said...

Well stated Angi! We are going through similar struggles here in the Spell household. Gives me something to think about as I am training DD#3 to express herself correctly.

Basia said...

Thank you for this thought provoking post. So far, Connor has only had two big tantrums (I'm sure there are many more on the way) and this is exactly the approach I am trying to adopt. It's so difficult though when you are in the midst of one of these tantrums. I think I will post this sentence on my fridge: "No, son, you cannot kick when you are angry. I will help you to not kick, until you learn to not kick on your own."

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