This week's mindful mantra is about showing up in parenthood and providing our littles with the calming support they need, when a big burst of emotions erupts inside them.
In the early years, it isn't until age 5 that most emotions are understood, and age 21 when self-regulation and executive logic centres are fully developed. Stop and let that soak in.
No wonder the toddler years are tough!
These magical little people are feeling all the feels, and have no idea whats happening inside them. When they feel sad, it is the deepest and darkest sadness, riddled with uncertainty and discomfort. When they feel angry, it is the boiling and bubbling lava that turns your whole body hot and makes you want to storm around the house and clean (no? maybe that's just me haha). The point is, we cannot expect our children at ages 2, 3 and 4 to wrap up a tantrum into a neat little box and have it be a non-issue at any point in their lives.
The tantrums have arrived right on schedule over here. It naturally has taken us a few trials and many errors to figure out what Zinnia needs while experiencing a big emotion. Since every child is different, every parent can relate to what this experience might be like. You want to help them so badly, you know a whole slew of tools that could work and yet, none seem to do the job. Figuring out what your child needs, while experiencing a tantrum, is the fastest way to getting past this stage. Once our children feel supported (in whatever capacity they might prefer) you both can begin to flow through these inevitable occurrences. Wouldn't that feel nice?
After various attempts to soothe my daughters tantrums they seemingly only got louder with every ounce of effort I put into them. I soon figured out what my fiery baby girl needed, the calm in me to support the chaos in her. Of course!
So far, saying nothing and being nearby is the winner. By giving Zinnia the physical space she needs to feel out her big feelings, and staying close by (without nattering away options to "get over it"), we have created a rhythm. I now channel all the calm in me, through deep breathing, focus and present attention to, at the very least, send calming support and love her way while she works things out all by herself. As long as I wasn't getting upset with her tantrums, frustrated over them not calming as quickly as I wanted them to, I was able to contribute to the energy between us with a positive and calm influence.
Try it with me, this week and for all the tantrums to come, the calm in me supports the chaos in you.