“So?” I asked
“HMMFFF” she replied.
“Wasn’t good?” I asked.
I could see she was fighting back tears.
“It was terrible, we didn’t even get to swim more than half a width!”
“Oh!” I replied
“My group just had to watch everyone else swim, it was SOOO annoying.”
“Oh sweetie, you were so excited and you didn’t get to swim! That is annoying!”
“SOOO annoying! And Sarah was in my group and then got moved up a group and she spent the whole time bragging about it, and I just had to sit on the benches with my group and watch everyone else swim and listen to Sarah go on and on!!!”
“Oh! that must have been SOO annoying, and for your good friend to brag like that!”
LET’S PAUSE HERE.
I didn’t offer advice or logic and reasoning. I just listened and repeated back to her how she must be feeling.
I remind myself: My daughter can be upset, something she was looking forward to for weeks, didn’t go how she want it to go. I would be pretty miffed too!
Here’s a little secret! Our kids will keep telling us how they feel UNTILL we have heard them.
When we listen with empathy, emotions pass more quickly, arguments vanish and tantrums disappear.
On the way to the car.
With my daughter clearly upset, verging on a full-blown tantrum as her emotions and frustrations were getting the better of her.
Well-meaning friends asked her what was wrong, their replies went something like:
- “Ah don’t worry, you’ll swim next week.”
- “It’s just this week when they work out the groups, next week I’m sure it will be fine, you’ll see, you’ll swim the whole time.”
- “I’m sure if you practice more and concentrate you will move up a group too!”
- “It’s nothing to cry about.”
Now, I know these are all well-meaning. We don’t what our kids to suffer, do we? We want to offer them logic and reasoning, to change their mind. It’s also much easier if they are all happy, isn’t it?
But, how likely are these types of comments going to help your child?
When we keep quiet and REALLY listen to our children, not rush them through their upset, we teach them so much.
- How to feel upset and manage their emotions.
- They need to know that we understand and love them anyway.
- We need to be a safe place to come to express their emotions and upsets.
- They need to know that they can feel upset and frustrated and it will all be OK anyway.
- They need to find their own solutions.
And you know what! There was no tantrum.
As soon as we walked through our front door, she was smiling, she had felt upset, managed her emotions and came to her own conclusions.
WIN-Win for me!
Have you tried this approach before? I would love to hear how it helped you to end the tantrums and connect with your child.
Hi! I’m Camilla, a Language of Listening® parent coach, and I support parents just like you to transform family life with the magic of Language of Listening® Download my class now, learn just three simple steps to radically change the way, you parent.