2 WAYS TO VIEW THE SAME MELTDOWN

A lovely mother/daughters date quickly turned sour after arriving at our table & Annabelle immediately erupted in tears. 

She had picked out her donut. She was excited about her donut. She knew everyone gets their own, and never in a million years have we gotten more than that. Yet here she was, bawling, pushing away the tray & screaming to the rest of the restaurant that she needed two. 

Now, we know all behavior is a form of communication. In the moment, I could interpret her behavior one way---

---"SHE'S UNGRATEFUL, SPOILED, ENTITLED, WHINY, MANIPULATIVE, & ACTING WILDLY INAPPROPRIATE FOR A PUBLIC SETTING. I NEED TO PUNISH HER SO SHE STOPS THAT BEHAVIOR RIGHT NOW AND LEARNS HER LESSON." 

OR

PERHAPS THERE'S ANOTHER WAY TO INTERPRET THE SITUATION--

---"There are two things I know about Annabelle- she's wildly in love with anything sweet, and she feels emotions at level 17 out of 10. She is still 4, developmentally impulsive & out of control of her actions, especially when upset (like even many adults). It is my responsibility to help her gain the skills to understand her own thoughts & feelings and know what to do next to cope when things are hard. I will not let the eyes of strangers allow me to ruin this teachable moment out of my own embarrassment." 

So... here's what I did. I acknowledged & empathized with her feelings (even when irrational), and LEANED IN.

"YOU LOVE DONUTS, ANNABELLE. YOU LOVE THEM SOOOOO MUCH! IT'S HARD TO HAVE ONLY 1! YOU WANT TO EAT ALL OF THEM, DON'T YOU?" 

She said "YEAH!" and started to sniffle and come down a bit. 🥺

"IT MUST FEEL LIKE YOU WANT TO EAT ALL THE DONUTS IN THE WORLD RIGHT NOW!? HOW MANY COULD YOU EAT? 10? 20 DONUTS?" 

Annabelle- "1,000!" 

"1,000 DONUTS?! THAT'S SO MANY!!! IF YOU COULD GO WORK IN KRISPY KREME'S KITCHEN, WHAT KIND OF DONUT WOULD YOU MAKE? WHAT COLOR FROSTING? WHAT WOULD BE ON THE INSIDE? WHAT SPRINKLES?"

And as she started dreaming about her perfect donut, she slowly calmed all the way down while she answered.  Then I walked her through the 4 steps I've taught her to "get calm"-

1. Blow your nose. 👃

2. Get a drink. 🥤

3. Get a long hug. 💓

4. Take a deep breath. 🗯

Then, she began happily eating her donut. Her ONE donut. 🍩

INSTEAD OF FEELING SHAME, BUILDING RESENTMENT TOWARD ME IN BEING MISUNDERSTOOD, SHE KNEW I "GOT IT". AND THAT WAS BETTER THAN A 2ND DONUT. 

Leaning in teaches emotional literacy & coping skills, building a STRONG connection between parent & child. ❤️ However, It requires a lot of patience & energy from us as parents, so we better have our wits about us, taking care of ourselves so we can be ready for these opportunities when our kids need us most.

DO YOU HAVE A KIDDO LIKE MINE?

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