© Michelle Chan
When your toddler or young child is crying and tantruming, be patient with them and help them figure out how they're feeling. Are they frustrated? Are they sad? Are they scared? Are they angry? Far too often, parents think that their child is being "disobedient" or "manipulative" to try to get what they want. But really, they just don't have the words to express themselves and/or the coping skills to help them cope in a more socially acceptable manner. By crying and tantruming, they are trying to COMMUNICATE to you that they are having a difficult time and feeling strong emotions that they need help with, from you.
When your teen is screaming, yelling, and irritated, be patient with them and help them figure out how they're feeling and what's bothering them. Many times, adults express themselves very differently than children and teens. You may think that when a child or teen is sad and depressed, that they would be sitting alone by themselves, moping, crying, etc. However, sometimes sadness and depression can surface in the form of anger and irritation.
Children are not miniature-sized adults, and neither are teens. (The brain isn't fully developed until you're about 24-26 years old! So how can we expect children and teens to "know" what's right from wrong all the time?!) Just remember:
Children are Children. Teens are Teens. They are NOT Adults.
Therefore, it is important for us as adults to keep the lines of communication open, so that we truly understand what is going on behind the behaviors that we see on the surface. Ask them what's wrong. Ask them how they're feeling. Help them brainstorm possible solutions or ways of coping if an alternative solution is not possible and acceptance is needed. (DON'T tell them what to do and how they should feel.) It is only then that we will be able to truly connect with the children and teens in our lives.
Be kind, to yourself and your child(ren). Nobody expects you to be a "perfect" parent, so please don't expect your child(ren) to be perfect either. Especially when they're still growing and learning about the world around them, and need a helping hand to hold onto to help them navigate this world we live in.
“Before you assume, learn the facts. Before you judge, understand why. Before you hurt someone, feel. Before you speak, think.” –Unknown