A dedication to every indian mother -Part 4
Shweta tells Sakshi “The playdate is over. It is time to head home”. She gives her daughter a 5-minute warning, expecting everything to go well.
Suddenly, it happens.
Sakshi responds disrespectfully,
“No! I don’t want to go! You never let me do anything fun!”
Shweta can feel the anger rising inside her, and she yells back, “How dare you talk to me like that!”
Sakshi continues, “You didn’t even send me a treat in my lunch today! You are the meanest mom ever!!!”
Now, Shweta is furious. “That’s it! No TV for a week!”
This back and forth continues.
She drags her to the car, kicking and screaming. Vowing never to let her have a playdate ever again.
Shweta’s friend Sushmita, whose house they had the play date at, saw this and held Shweta back. She said “DISRESPECT IS NOT OK.As parents, we definitely need to teach our children how to treat others with kindness, and how to communicate big feelings without being disrespectful”. Shweta was tired and sad, and asked her how.
Sushmita continued, “Unfortunately, we cannot teach them to be respectful in the heat of the moment.
I know you WANT to deal with it right then and there. But, once your child is angry, disappointed, frustrated, or upset, the thinking part of their brain has shut down. They are in survival mode. Their body is flooded with stress chemicals and they are not able to hear and process the lessons you are trying to teach. Plus, most importantly we can’t teach our kids to be respectful by treating them with disrespect”. This touched a nerve, and Shweta stopped to reflect at her behaviour.
Sushmita continued, “I know you HATE being disrespected.But, if you are triggered by their disrespectful behavior, your brain goes into survival mode too. You are not able to think rationally. Your responses will either be filled with anger, yelling and punishment or you will shut down and give up. Thankfully, there is a way to teach your child to talk about big feelings without being disrespectful.
ANOTHER WAY TO DEAL WITH DISRESPECT.”
Shweta was lost, sure that this was never possible, but as hope keeps us going, she continued to hear her friend out.
She explained, “Take a picture of these tips in your brain. But before that I would like to add that I realize that the suggestions may be different than you’re used to. You may feel a little unsure about trying these strategies with your kids. that’s OK.” Shweta was now listening.
Sushmita went ahead to rationalise the behaviour, “The goal is to address the behavior without threatening, bribing, or responding with disrespect.”
Stay calm: It’s not easy to keep cool when our kids are being rude. This may feel impossible at first. Meeting them with disrespect sends the wrong message. Instead, model good self-care by taking a deep breath, counting to 20 or repeating a mantra: “This is not an emergency” before you respond to your child.
Decode the Behavior: Look at things from your child’s perspective. Were they caught off guard? Is what you’re asking inconvenient? Do they feel powerless? Their response is a reflection of what they are feeling inside. Unfortunately, at this point, they can’t put it into more appropriate words.
Empathize: Help your child understand their own feelings by offering an empathetic response, “It seems unfair that we have to go already” or “I know it’s hard to leave when you’re having such a fun time!” You do not have to agree with the feeling, it simply means that you are willing to relate to their experience.
Check the Time: Some kids are affected by low blood sugar, hunger or thirst. Others are very sensitive to environmental stimulation or not getting enough sleep. Has it been awhile since your child ate? Could they use a sip of water? Or a break from a loud environment? Offer it in a non-threatening way, “I’m going to have a cracker, would you like one too?”
Slow It Down: It’s easy to get pulled away with the “runaway train” of angry, frustrated words and emotions. Instead of jumping on board and responding to every criticism or complaint your child throws at you, try to put on the brakes, “Whoa! That’s a lot of info. I’d like to listen, but you’re talking too fast. Let’s calm down so I can understand what you’re trying to say.”
Connect: If your child is misbehaving, the last thing on your mind is cuddling. However, for many kids, connection is exactly what they need! If you are able to look past the behavior and ignore all of the big feelings and overwhelming emotion, you will be able to see that your child is hurting and needs support. Sometimes, a hug is better than any verbal response.”
Shweta was shocked, she was wondering will this really work? And Sushmita convinced her that it will 90% of the times as she had tried it on her son. And the rest 10% is BB. Shweta asked her what that meant, and she replied, “Bhagwan bharose”. Both of them laughed out loud over this and the situation cooled down. Sushmita explained that just like getting her to laugh makes her more acceptable to listening, Sakshi her daughter also needs to be removed from her anger zone.
She said “you know Shweta, being a mom is like being a detective. Once you’ve made it through the big feelings, you can solve the mystery, if this was simply the result of a child who had too much candy and excitement at the playdate, or if this is a bigger issue that needs to be addressed”.
Shweta was agreeing, “ that means i DO THE TEACHING LATER. Once everyone is calm, then I can talk about what happened and how to do it differently next time.” Sushmita gave her a high five and said “ perfect super mom, learning quick! And one more thing Waiting or delaying your response does not mean that you are a passive parent or you’re saying that disrespect is OK.It means that you are waiting for your brain, and your child’s brain, is able to receive information and move on without being rude, angry or disrespectful”.
Shweta said, “yeah now that makes sense” then we both are ready I could start with, “It seems like you were upset about leaving the playdate earlier. Can we think of a different way to tell me how you feel?”
Sushmita added on “You can also address some of the things that were said, “I heard you say something about snacks in your lunch. Is this something you want to talk about now?”or You have feelings too! It’s ok to express them, and let her know how their words affect you.
Be careful not to point the finger back at your child, keep the focus on how it felt to you. “I felt hurt when you said I was the meanest mom ever.”
Shweta was relieved that she had a new way to handle the situation more effectively now. For now, since both the mothers were involved in conversation, the kids got more play time, and were now ready to go home!
So all’s we’ll that ends well!
P.S- If you’ve lost your cool and said angry words in the heat of the moment, it’s ok to admit it. You are not perfect, and it is good for your kids to see that you are working on calming skills too!
This is when the teaching happens.
Calm brains can learn information. Which means, your child is ready to process and practice new skills.
It means they can learn how to manage big feelings, communicate their needs, and respond respectfully in the future.
Which was your goal all along.
Happy Parenting !
Leave your comments below, also if you have a situation/challenge with your little one-Leave is the topic, and we’ll write a part on it with the solution