When children don’t have the words to describe how they feel, their actions will show it.
It’s important to remember this when your kids act out.
I hear from so many parents that their kids are harder to handle during COVID because they’re inside more and there are fewer options for outdoor activities.
Being active is one of the ways we discharge anxiety. When I feel particularly anxious at the end of the day I know its due in part to not having moved enough during the day.
Parents having to work from home, plus remote learning has decreased parents time for self-care. Anxiety levels are higher and its being expressed through their children’s behavior.
We set the example for the do’s and don’ts of how emotions are expressed in our families.
Is it okay to cry when you’re angry?
Can you tell a parent you’re hurt by something they said?
When a sibling calls you a name, how do you respond?
This is all sorted out through the emotional intelligence modeled and nurtured by the parents.
It isn’t perfect by any means and we’re all gonna make mistakes, including some big ones we’ll need to apologize for.
What matters is knowing you and I need to take the lead on this.
By helping them tune into their emotional experience when they act out. Here are a few tips.
You know the kids who behave while you’re in the room but fight when you leave the room?
They do that because they want you to stay in the room with them.
Point this out, but do it in an inquisitive way. You could ask, “Is it possible you guys just want me to stay in here with you for awhile?”
If they agree. Then you can discuss how they can use words to let you know that instead fighting with each other.
It’ll also give you a chance to explain how they can support you in getting your work done so you will have time to spend with them.
Second tip. Let’s say you have a child who gets bored easily and solves that problem by bothering a sibling in some other way.
This child annoys their sibling until the sibling snaps at them.
The question to ask is, “Is there something you’d like your brother/sister to do?”
In our culture people are reluctant to ask for what they need. Instead, they hint, suggest, beat around the bush and expect the other person to read their mind. Everyone suffers as a result.
We need to break that pattern and our children need it most of all. Let’s start changing this ASAP and let’s do it with them.