Steven wants to put his shoes on by himself. He chooses sandals with straps that you have to thread through little openings. Putting on these shoes requires patience and concentration.
Unfortunately, he loses his cool at the first hiccup. He can't quite get the strap in the hole. He gets mad because it's so much harder than he thought it would be. After a minute or two of trying to get the shoes on his crying turns to screaming. I try to help him but he doesn't want help. He pushes me away.
This is typical behavior for him when he can't have something that he wants. A Coke when we are out and about, TV during dinner, his sister's stuffed animal.
He wants it. Now. At all costs. It's his right. He doesn't think of anything else. He becomes blind. He only has eyes for his one goal, and he doesn't let it go.
Are these temper tantrums?
This behavior is really confusing to me. I don't understand where all of this anger comes from.
I guess he just has to grow up a little. The reasoning part of his brain will develop sooner or later.
But I can't stand the screaming. How can I help him to calm down?
I have heard that children are mirrors of their parents.
Like in this video with Dr. Shefali.
And today I am thinking about this "mirror" idea.
But I don't get mad like this. I'm a pretty calm person... or am I?
I reflect a little more.
I think about my life goals right now.
I want to learn how to be a really good doula, to be able to answer any birth related question with practical know-how and inspiring wisdom. I want to find the perfect house for raising kids. I want to be a more present mother.
Am I in a hurry to achieve these goals? Absolutely.
Time passes and my children are growing so quickly. There's really no time for patience.
I think again about Steven and the shoes.
I get goose bumps.
I can't know everything or have everything by this weekend.
Goals are good, yes.
But some things take time. I need to stop rushing. Be patient.
Thank you, Steven.
Are these temper tantrums?
Or are our children showing us what we need to know about ourselves?
If you are interested in furthering your understanding of kids' behavior as a reflection of their parents' emotions or experiences, you might like these books and websites:
books I love
Siegel, Daniel J. and Mary Hartzell. Parenting from the Inside Out: How a Deeper Self-Understanding Can Help You Raise Children who Thrive. 2003.
Stiffelman, Susan. Parenting with Presence. 2015
Kaban-Zinn, Jon and Myla. Everyday Blessings: The Inner Work of Mindful Parenting. 2014
Tsabary, Shefali. The Conscious Parent: Transforming Ourselves, Empowering our Children. 2010
websites I love
Jason and Cecilia Hilkey are former preschool teachers, husband and wife, and parents. They recently wrote an article called Secrets to Taming Tantrums that I found very interesting.
Janet Lansbury is the author of two parenting books that focus on babies and children as whole, competent people.
Avital is a mindful parenting coach and an unschooling mother. She makes wonderful videos and you can sign up to receive "notes from your child" in which she reminds us of our interconnectedness.