Mirror, mirror



How often have you found your child imitating your own less-than-adult behavior? ©THINKSTOCK

They say if you want to see what you really look like and sound like you should videotape yourself and watch it. I believe that couldn’t be truer especially when the “video” comes in the form of my three-year-old daughter….

“Stop yelling! I said No! You are to stay in your room until I say otherwise, I am getting mad!” shouted my daughter as she stomped down the stairs and through the dining room into the kitchen.

Shocked was my first reaction to this scene. In a calm voice I asked her, “What’s the matter?”

Her response was simply, “Bunny,” (her stuffed animal) “isn’t listening and won’t stop yelling,” at which point she turned, stomped back up the stairs to her bedroom and started shouting at bunny again.

It didn’t take but a minute for me to figure out my daughter was imitating ME. My dismay quickly turned to horror at that understanding. She was acting and talking in the same manner and in the same tone I had taken with her just a few days ago. She had not been listening to me very well that day and when I had told her no she could not have the cookies she was asking for, she started with a tantrum and started shouting, “Yes, yes, yes!” I told her the answer was no, and if she didn’t settle down she was going to have to go to her room. At that point she started yelling and screaming even more. I am not proud to say it, but I lost my patience and I started to yell back at her. I carried her kicking and screaming all the way upstairs to her bedroom and told her in a rather loud tone I was upset and she was to stay in her room. I wanted her to know she was not to speak to me in that manner and I would not tolerate it.

Unfortunately, the message I conveyed to her that day was not what I intended. Upon hearing and watching my daughter re-enact the scenario, I immediately realized I needed to change. This was not how I wanted my daughter to behave but she was just doing what I showed her. No, I needed to explain to her I had been wrong in my behavior. I needed to start practicing the behavior I wanted her to display, and I needed to set a better example. I did some research online and found a few ideas I could try when I feel I may be losing my patience or notice a tantrum/yelling match afoot.

At that point she started yelling and screaming even more. I am not proud to say it, but I lost my patience and I started to yell back at her.

One technique I have found useful is to stop and just wrap her up in a big hug until the tenseness dissipates, and then quietly discuss the problem: what I want why, and what I expect from her. Some other techniques I read about were to do something to make her laugh to help diffuse the stress, ignore the tantrum if she is using it to vie for attention, keep repeating yourself so as to eventually bore the tantrum out of her, distract her by calling her attention to something else or by playing a simple game.

One thing I always try to do is talk about the circumstances surrounding my loss of patience or her tantrum. Her feelings are just as important as mine. If she is getting upset about something we need to talk it out so we can have an understanding of one another and of what is expected.

Every day is a new challenge, not only to improve myself, but also to make the right choices and actions to guide my daughter as she grows. I am thankful for every day I have with my children. They are a wonderful gift.

JESSICA DENVER is a freelance writer from Pennsylvania.

Reference: www.whattoexpect.com, Fast Ways to Stop Temper Tantrums


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