Thursday, January 14, 2010

Tackling Distress Tantrums with Brain Research

The following article is an excerpt from the excellent book, The Science of Parenting: How today's brain research can help you raise happy, emotionally balanced children by Margot Sunderland


The RAGE, FEAR, and SEPARATION distress systems are already set up at birth to support a baby's survival. They are designed to be so in order to save infants from being eaten by predators, and to keep them close to mom. The potential dangers in the modern world are very different, but nevertheless, everyday events can easily trigger one or more of these systems in your infant's brain. For example, his fear system may be triggered when a door slams, or his rage system when you try to dress him, or his separation distress system when you walk out of a room. Infants keep getting overwhelmed by the triggering of these brain systems beause there is so little higher rational brain functioning "on-line" yet to help them think, reason, and calm down.

This is important to understand when faced with a genuinely distressed or screaming baby or child. He needs your help to calm down. With consistently emotionally responsive parenting, your child's frontal lobes will start to develop essential brain pathways that will, over time, enable him to calm these alarm states in his lower brain.

A distress tantrum means that one or more of the three alarm systems (rage, fear and/or separation) in your child's lower brain has been very strongly activated. As a result, your child's arousal system will be way out of balance, with too-high levels of stress chemicals searing through his body and brain.

Distress tantrums happen because essential brain pathways between a child's higher brain and his lower brain haven't developed yet. These brain pathways are necessary to enable a child to manage his big feelings. As a parent, your role is to soothe your child while he experiences the huge hormonal storms in his brain and body. If you get angry with a child for having a distress tantrum, he may stop crying, but this may also mean that the fear system in his brain has triggered, over-riding his separation system. Or he may simply have shifted into silent crying, which means his level of the stress chemical cortisol will remain sky-high. As we have seen throughout brain research, uncomforted distress can leave a child with toxic levels of stress hormones washing over the brain.

This brain scan shows that the primal, core brain (sometimes called 'lower' brain or 'inner' brain) is activated when a child or baby is distressed (red/orange) while many outer brain or frontal lobe areas are deactivated (purple/blue).


Children can't talk or listen well when distressed.

The dramatic brain and body changes of a distress tantrum hijack your child's thinking functions and the verbal centers in his higher brain that control the comprehension and expression of speech. It is important to understand this because trying to talk to your child during a distress tantrum, or expecting him to talk about his feelings, is a waste of time. All he can do is discharge his emotions.

A distress tantrum needs sensitive handling.

It is important that you take a genuine distress tantrum seriously and meet your child's pain of loss, frustration, or acute disappointment with sympathy and understanding. When you do this, you will be helping your child to develop vital stress-regulating systems in his higher brain. Repeatedly getting angry with a child's genuine distress can mean that the child never develops effective inhibitory mechanisms in his higher brain. Picture a man who often loses his temper in a restaurant, or violently kicks a faulty vending machine -- in early life he may have missed out on the vital parenting that would have helped him manage rage. (1, 2, 3)

Regulating childhood distress is a key task for all parents, teachers, and other caregivers.

Receiving help to manage intense feelings of rage, frustration, or distress means that a child can develop the brain pathways that enable him to calm himself down when under stress. If we don't respond to a genuine distress tantrum and, instead, adopt a fixed approach to all tantrums, we lose a vital opportunity to sculpt a child's brain in a positive way. It is deeply reassuring to a child to know that an adult can calm and understand the volcanic storms that rip through his body and brain. It is most disturbing to a child that when he is in terrible emotional pain his Mommy or Daddy gets angry or just walks away from him.


How to handle distress tantrums:

Your role is to give your child a sense of safety, comfort, and reassurance when he is having a distress tantrum. These techniques can all help to calm your child.

1. Use simple, calm actions or provide a simple choice. For example, if your child is upset about getting dressed, ask him whether he wants to wear his blue or his brown pants.

2. Distraction is a wonderful, often underused technique. It activates the seeking system in your child's lower brain and makes him feel curious and interested in something. It can naturally override the brain's rage or distress systems. It also triggers a high level of dopamine, a great positive arousal chemical in the brain, which reduces stress and triggers interest and motivation. (4)

3. Hold your child tenderly. Sometimes it really helps to hold a distressed child, but you must feel calm and in control yourself. Being next to your calm body will bring his over aroused body and brain systems back into balance and release natural, calming oxytocin and opioids. Say simple words such as, "I know, I know." (Words alone, however, will not strongly release these wonderful chemicals.) If his rage system has been triggered, as well as his distress system, and he is throwing things around the room or hitting or biting, you will need to use a holding technique.

4. Sometimes a child will feel safe and contained just by you sitting down calmly next to him and talking gently. Some children find this preferable to being held, because it allows them the freedom to move.

5. Avoid using the time-out technique during a distress tantrum. You wouldn't walk away from your best friend or send her to a time-out room if she was writhing and sobbing on the floor, so this is certainly not appropriate for children, who have far fewer emotional resources than adults. Using time out for a child in distress would also mean missing a vital opportunity for rage and distress regulation and establishing effective stress-regulating systems in the brain.

6. Avoid putting a child in a room on his own during a distress tantrum. Although the child may stop vocal crying, he may continue to cry internally-something that research shows is more worrisome. (5, 6) Whereas vocal crying is a request for help, silent, internal crying is a sign that the child has lost faith that help will come (learned helplessness). In some people, this tragic loss of faith can stay for life.

7. Remind yourself that a child's distress is genuine. A two year-old who is screaming because his sibling has snatched a toy car is not just making a fuss. Research shows that a sense of loss activates the pain centers in the brain, causing an agonizing opioid withdrawal. (7) Because small children have been in the world for only a few years, they don't have a clear perspective on life. As adults, we have a backdrop of events and experiences that tell us that the loss of a toy car is a minor disappointment. But for a small child, this loss can mean everything. If a child is repeatedly punished for grief fueled tantrums (grief often includes rage), the lesson he learns is: "Mommy cannot manage or understand my grief." As a result, he is likely to switch off feelings of hurt because they are no longer safe to have. And this has consequences for how a child manages his feelings into adulthood.


Reference Notes:

1) Brody GH, et. al (1982). Contributions of parents and peers to children's moral socialization. Developmental Review 2:31-75.

2) Haley, DW, et. al (2003). Infant stress and parent responsiveness: regulation of physiology and behavior. Child Development 74(5):1534-46.

3) Barbas H, et. al (2003). Serial pathways from primate prefontal cortex to autonomic areas may influence emotional expression. Neuroscience 10(4):25.

4) Panksepp, J (1998). Affective Neuroscience. Oxford University Press, New York: 54.

5) Gunnar MR (1989). Studies of the human infant's adrenocortical response to potentially stressful events. New Directions for Child Development Fall (3-18).

6) Hertgaard, L, et al. (1995) Adrenocortical responses to the strange situation in infants with disorganized/disoriented attachment relationships. Child Development 66:1100-06.

7) Panksepp, J (2003). Neuroscience: Feeling the pain of social loss. Science 302(5643):237-39.

43 comments:

  1. I think this was a very good article. Too bad it didn't mention nursing your toddler for an INSTANT cure to tantrums. Tantrums aren't an issue in our house because if my DD flips out, I just nurse her to calm her, and she's fine! Thank heavens for nursing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Two questions about this though...
      1) What if I'm a mom who COULDN'T nurse, so I don't have that option?
      2) Does this not teach a child to eat when stressed?

      There are honest, genuine questions and in no way meant to be judgmental or condemning.

      Delete
    2. I agree with you strwberryjoy!

      Mama Hagan I don't associate breastfeeding to comfort as eating food for comfort with a toddler. I am sure there are others more educated on the topic but I have noticed it's more of a comfort thing over milk/eating. For example - my toddler is upset he can't go outside. He starts to cry. I soothe - he escalates and is no longer hearing me. I offer nursing and he snuggles to my chest and lays his head on my heart. He is soothed. I am soothed. We both take deep breaths and relax and he suckles usually a moment or two and then we can discuss the situation and he is calmed enough to be rational.

      Delete
    3. Mama Hagan, breastfeeding specifically may not have been included because it's NOT something all mothers can do. Forgoing my medication was not an option, and they were not safe for breastfeeding. However, in my experience I think both breastfeeding and bottle feeding could be included under #3. "Hold your child tenderly. Sometimes it really helps to hold a distressed child, but you must feel calm and in control yourself. Being next to your calm body will bring his over aroused body and brain systems back into balance and release natural, calming oxytocin and opioids. Say simple words such as, "I know, I know.""

      When my daughter has tantrums, one of my solutions is to grab her lovey, her favorite blanket, a bottle and go into her room, sit in her rocking chair, turn off any unnatural lights and rock and feed her if she wants. Very similar to the previous post, she usually eats some, but mostly just relaxes against me and cuddles. She seems to mostly just eat for the "sucking for comfort" reflex. I think it also helps to move into a quiet, dim room and remove all other stimuli besides the sound of my voice.

      Delete
    4. I am still nursing my 2 1/2 year old, and I have to say that breastfeeding him during a tantrum no longer works the way that it did when he was 18 months or so. Sometimes, he'll calm down while he's nursing, and it will seem like everything is better, but then as soon as he unlatches, he picks up his tantrum right where he left off. Other times, he refuses to nurse at all - and I can't force him, you know?

      I used to think that breastfeeding was the ultimate answer to his tantrums (and when he was younger, it really was), but now I know that sometimes it's just not that simple. Breastfeeding can certainly be a valuable tool (if you are able to do it), but it is not going to work for every child every time.

      Delete
  2. Great information and a lot to think about. Just wondering if you could describe how to recognize a distress tantrum as opposed to a "regular" tantrum.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. If my daughter waked up from her nap and is just in an undefinable "funk," is that a distress tantrum?

      Delete
    2. This is a hard one.. and im not sure 100% myself, but id assume a genuine one would be when injured, or you taking something they want off them. While often they are stinking up a fuss over no apparent reason, young childrens intensions are always innocent, its not often that they will have Un-genuine tantrums.. but i would say, that the fuss they cause when waking ect isnt a tantrum, however it is a whole new thing its self. Itds often the feeling of shock, or worry. They have woken up, maybe you moved them while asleep?? they are sceard ect. so that crying recived when they first wake is also one that needs to be tended too, with a reasuring face :D and a smile, and you talk to them saying, hello, did you have a good sleep?? ect ect. But yes, im blabbing. Basically a distrees is one that you can find a purpose for. that is how i recognise it. it just vairys, from dont want to sit still and have my nappy changed, to being sceard due to a knew face. For the regular tantrum, i am unsure, as there isnt really a tantrum caused for no reason, there is always an underlying cause... so i too am unsure...If that helps at all Carlee and Jenny.

      Delete
    3. This article was very informative and shed a new light on my sons dramatic and seemingly ridiculous outbursts. Great research keep it up.

      Delete
  3. To the commenter who asked about "regular" tantrums... what is a "regular" tantrum? I have 6 kids and I've never seen a tantrum arise out of anything other than distress. They wanted the ice cream & they're not getting it. They're hurt, they're feeling a tummy ache & don't know how to communicate it.... I wonder what you mean about that? Excellent article, by the way

    ReplyDelete
  4. For the stay-at-home dad nursing isn't a particularly useful INSTANT cure for tantrums. I've tried it a few times and it doesn't seem to have any effect. ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  5. This is wonderful. I just love it when science backs up the touchy-feely hippie goodness I already believe in!

    I agree that that tantrums are "genuine" distress and NOT a good time to problem solve, blame, or abandon. I would add that OCCASIONALLY crying, hitting, screaming, etc, can be more mild and even intentional-- almost like a problem solving "tactic" or simply the only way of communicating that a child has at that time. If the feeling is acknowledged, sometimes a caregiver can help the child problem solve other ways of communicating. It's so cool to see a child realize "Hey, this person is going to listen to me even if I don't cry/hit/scream." I think it's pretty clear when it's conscious or more of a distress response.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Good point Melissa, It will benefit our society greatly to recognize that negative behavior is a response to an emotional challenge, to help a child learn how to face a challenge is the most valuable thing that we can teach them. Rather then using isolation and punishment which have been shown, long ago by behavioral scientists, to be ineffective in the long run. and encourage lying- something we'd all like to avoid as parents, no?

    Thanks for another great resource Dr.Momma!

    ReplyDelete
  7. i wish i had read this article 3 years ago when ds was a baby. we have used every bad technique mentioned, however never hitting him. i have not handled his extreme emotions well. although i would rather send him to his room than end up physically harming him. my husband is much better at handling extreme emotion and is able to take him to a separate space and sit with him until he is calm. it has seriously effected my relationship with my son. fortunately we have learned better techniques and have changed the way we handle tantrums for him and both of his younger sisters. thanks for posting amazing info and helping all of us become better parents :-)

    ReplyDelete
  8. This is a great article and so important to see the brain chemistry and actual biological side of a child's tantrum! Unfortunately I grew up in a christian circle that dismisses stuff like this and bad behavior is just that, bad behavior. There is no grace or understanding just fix the bad behavior.
    I have one son, who is almost 8, and he still throws screaming rages and gets violent. I usually have to stick him in a chair away from everyone and everything until he calms down and often offer him protein and good fats. Did you know that the brain needs lots of protein and good fats to keep balanced, which is probably why nursing works as strwberryjoy mentioned ;) Anyway, do you think it's normal for a child of this age to still flip out? I do the distraction thing also, but doesn't always work. I have noticed when peers are around he won't flip out like he would at home, so it makes me wonder.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Hope this article reaches people who need it. Books like _How to Talk so Kids will Listen and How to Listen so Kids will Talk_ also provide helpful ways to understand and respond to distress situations, though they may not have brought out the brain research.

    I'd like to highlight some lines and comment:

    "trying to talk to your child during a distress tantrum, or expecting him to talk about his feelings, is a waste of time. All he can do is discharge his emotions."

    Yes. My rule is - do not question a child who is upset. Just be there to listen. A child who knows and trusts that you are there to listen will talk when s/he is ready.

    A useful tip I learned from Alfie Kohn (_Unconditional Parenting_) is - when a tantrum occurs, do not worry about what others are thinking.

    " if your child is upset about getting dressed, ask him whether he wants to wear his blue or his brown pants"

    Would this be effective? The reason for the distress probably has not to do with the color of the pants. I think one has to allow time / space to figure out what the real issue is. But such issues often arise when one doesn't have that time / space, or because of that. Reminds me of another useful tip: "do not be in a rush."

    "Distraction is a wonderful ..." I agree with this up to age 5 or so. I would make a transitional statement to acknowledge that you are not ignoring the emotion but just redirecting the energy. Later I think one has to draw more on patient listening, being there while the storm rages, gentle talking, etc.

    And I agree with strwberryjoy, breastfeeding is often all you need. It passes all too quickly!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love this philosophy and I guess what I want to say is that so often when are kids are freaking out we happen to be off balance too and so speaking for myself...I have such a hard time doing these techniques. I have been studying Compassionate Communication by Marshall Rosenberg and what I really am working on in my life is handling my own strategies for connecting with myself. Thanks for your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  11. What do you do when your child is throwing a screaming tantrum and everything you try to do to help seems to make your child more upset? When my son (16.5 months) tantrums, I can't so much as look at him without infuriating him, let alone touch him or hold him. I've left him to tantrum on his own (with me nearby but not engaging him) a few times because I was completely at a loss as to what to do, and he cried himself to sleep once (and while the nap was ultimately extremely beneficial, he wouldn't nurse to sleep due to being upset over the gentian violet on my nipples and was MUCH happier when he woke up, it was NOT my intent to let him CIO). I felt so terrible, but I didn't know what else to do. Any advice?

    ReplyDelete
  12. What about kids who are somewhat older, and a time-out was used because their mother (me) didn't know about this information? Is there a way to make up lost ground in this? I have always tried to avoid parenting through anger, but I am only learning now some of the research behind certain techniques, and I want to reverse gears and correct what I can...

    ReplyDelete
  13. Ditto what Tiff said! Imperfect parents of older kids would like to help their kids... How about adolescents, who are testing their parents anew and learning to deal with new emotions and new challenges? How can we help them?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Great article!

    I witnessed the power of this approach last night (prior to reading this article). My 2.5 year old woke up from a nap and was sitting at the kitchen table shrieking and demanding that I do something for him. I told him that when he asked me in "nicer" voice that I would respond. This sent him into a furious meltdown throwing things and shrieking (covering his own ears because it was so loud) and experiencing fury and frustration and he was completely unable to process what I had asked of him so I picked him up.. held him close to me.. and took him to a quiet room where I sang songs and snuggled him and he calmed down immediately. He wasn't ready to be awake and have any expectations put on him..... so we started over! :)

    ReplyDelete
  15. how do you question your own parents parenting choices? I was a HUGE liar when I was a little kid and a teenager. I never understood why because honestly overall I was a great kid. I never did bad things, never got into the wrong crowds but still big or small I would ALWAYS lie. I still don't understand fully but after reading this and seeing some children that get punished in certain ways have a greater possibility of lying it started to make me wonder. Did my parents ultimately make me a liar? (I'm not like this anymore, I have my own children and my own house and I don't answer to my parents anymore. Also I have no reason to lie but every now and then when faced with a difficult decision I automatically think of lying my way out of it. I don't, but it's engraved into my thought process.) I just want to know how I was parented as a child. Also we're estranged. I have no idea how to contact them (I have their info) just don't know how to begin. Or if it's even worth it.

    ReplyDelete
  16. An incredible article. Rings so true with my own upbringing. I have some of the mentioned effects. Was wondering where they came from. My parents didn't understand what their parenting was doing to me.

    ReplyDelete
  17. My son has more tantrums/meltdowns when he is sick or tired. Sometimes I just have to recognize this and see it as a clue to make changes. Get him a nap, some quiet time, or hold him more. Don't take him out shopping or give him too many choices. I can try to 'fix' what's made him so upset, and often it just makes it worse. Sometimes I do have to 'walk away' but I never let him out of my sight. (He wouldn't allow it either!) It just makes him more upset. Eventually, he always comes to me with open arms wanting me to hold him. This is the perfect time for us to settle 'the problem' and work towards a solution we're both happy with. (Sometimes, it's just about getting him a NAP!) ;o) Good article!

    ReplyDelete
  18. I like this post so much I'm thinking of buying the book! It's good to know I'm doing some things right. Distraction works well, even during a shot at the Doctor's (I sing the ABCs). When one of my twins (9 months) takes away a toy from the other, soothing and disctraction works well. On the dressing table, I usually try to give them a small stuffed toy to play with. I am glad to know that following my instincts aligns with current research; who doesn't want to pick up and soothe a crying, upset toddler with soft words and little cuddles and pats? They deserve it, because it's obvious they don't understand. They are expressing pure feeling, which can overwhelm an adult, and require soothing by others.

    ReplyDelete
  19. To Anonymous at January 17, 2011 10:41 AM

    I have dealt with tantrums like this with my son when he was around the same age and we still do. I understand how frustrating they can be.

    What we discovered with my son was to wrap him snug in a blanket so he couldn't hurt himself or me and carry him around talking softly until he calmed down (which surprizingly happened really fast after we wrapped him). Now when he starts tantruming he'll bring us the blanket and we know he wants us to help him calm down.

    I really hated the idea of restraining him like that when I first did it but he was hurting himself (he bangs his head repeatedly while tantruming leaving bruises)and I couldn't stand to see him keep hurting himself and wasn't comfortable with the advice to ignore the tantrum. I have learned while doing my ECE training that this is actually a technique that is sometimes used to help calm a child because for some children the sensation of being wrapped can offer a sense of physical control for them when they are feeling emotionally out of control.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Thanks for this article. It was really hard for me to manage my son's tantrums, but I can't give up because he is my son. One thing I did just recently is to test how he fares whenever he's around electronic media (gadgets, videogames, and tv). I learned that he is okay without any of those. He also tantrums a lot when he is given several choices. Now that's a bit impossible in our house set up and environment. Anyway, I am sorry for rambling. I found your blog a really, great help for me.

    You've found yourself another fan.

    Thanks Dr. Momma.

    ReplyDelete
  21. This is absolutely amazing. Thank you so much for this fantastic article. Although I am already a peaceful parent, I feel a newfound understanding of some of my very advanced 9 month old child's needs and am armed with new problem solving skills for the future. Thanks again drmomma!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Thanks for this article! My 12 month old is starting to throw "tantrums" and I've been approaching them with empathy, but this article makes me more confident that what I'm doing is right for me and my babe.

    ReplyDelete
  23. I found this book by chance when I was pregnant with my first. Loved it so much I give it to all my friends when they get pregnant. It REALLY helps explain WHY kids are the way they are and how you can better respond to their needs :) love it love it love it!

    ReplyDelete
  24. "6. Avoid putting a child in a room on his own during a distress tantrum. Although the child may stop vocal crying, he may continue to cry internally-something that research shows is more worrisome. (5, 6) Whereas vocal crying is a request for help, silent, internal crying is a sign that the child has lost faith that help will come (learned helplessness). In some people, this tragic loss of faith can stay for life. "


    That it can.
    Thanks for this.
    I don't want my children to have the same inability or fear to express themselves that I learned as a child.

    -Invi

    ReplyDelete
  25. I would like to know more about how this affects the adult and what we can do to fix it. I believe i suffer greatly from feeling like i had to shut myself down in order to not get yelled at or hit when i was little. this is an AMAZING article, and although my 14 month olds father and myself follow these techniques out of pure instinct, it is good to know we are doing right by him! Thank you! p.s. please email me the info if you have it mommagreenbird@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hi, my one yr old pretty much flips out if he is not held constantly in the evenings when I am home from work. I've tried babywearing, but he's really big for his age and so heavy I can't "wear" him more than 30 mins at a time. Really hard to fix dinner or get anything done. He calms down when you pick him up but freaks out as soon as u set him down. Any suggestions for me?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kyra, my one yr old will cry too if I put her down on the floor. But if I put her down on the bench, she is happy. I can do this while preparing dinner or doing dishes. I set up chairs under the bench to stop her falling to the floor. Have you tried this?

      Delete
    2. Kyra, it's been a long time, does your child still do this? What kind of carrier are you using? I invested in a Kinderpack, which is designed for toddlers and it has made a huge difference in my ability to carry around my heavy child for long periods of time.

      Delete
  27. Kyra, I believe babies will ask to be held just as much as they need it. If you're gone all day, baby might truly be needing you in the evening. Maybe hubby can make dinner or you can spend an hour in one-on-one, eye-to-eye contact and play time, before pulling away to cook, etc. Make lots of eye contact and SMILE a lot at baby; it stimulates emotional growth.
    Hope this helps!!

    ReplyDelete
  28. This is a great article! My 10mo old DD has started throwing tantrum if I try to dress her, make her lay down for a diaper change, take something from her that she shouldn't have or put her in her car seat. So, now I just try to avoid those things that trigger a tantrum. I don't change her clothes unless it is NECESSARY. I change all of her diapers in the bathroom and let her stand at the tub while playing with her bath toys. I don't leave things laying around that she shouldn't put in her mouth and if I have to take something from her, I try to offer her something more interesting first, before I take the other away. If and when the tantrums do come, I just remind myself that she has no other way to communicate and that her priorities are different than mine. It is not her job to meet my expectations. I'm the adult so it's my responsibility to meet her's. I handle tantrums first with holding, hugs, kisses and 'I knows'. If that doesn't work, distraction is 2nd on the list. I have noticed that she is more prone to tantrums on days when she is held less, overly tired or teethig. She is a heavy girl, 23lbs but I hold her as much as I possibly can. When my arms start burning, I just consider it exercise and remind myself that I will not be able to snuggle her forever and somehow, my strength returns! :) and I try to pay close attention to when she is saying she is sleepy so we can have a nap before a tantrum shows up.

    It is my daily mantra that she is my first priority. It's not about a power struggle. It's not about getting MY way and insisting that she do what I want. It's not about the dishes or dinner or laundry or even a shower... It's all about her. That is the life of a good parent... at least for a while.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I love this philosophy and I guess what I want to say is that so often when are kids are freaking out we happen to be off balance too and so speaking for myself...I have such a hard time doing these techniques. I have been studying Compassionate Communication by Marshall Rosenberg and what I really am working on in my life is handling my own strategies for connecting with myself. Thanks for your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  30. So what age do.they learn sharing? We don't really hang out with others but everyone is pretty persistent on teaching sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It isn't till about age 3 that children form the thought processes to be able to understand the concept of sharing. They need to form the understanding that they are an individual with wants and needs, and that the other people in the world are also people with wants and needs. and that these wants and needs may be different from there own.

      Delete
  31. Thank you for this. I'm sure my children would thank you as well if they could type!

    ReplyDelete
  32. How do you explain/handle a child having a meltdown because you have o brush their teeth or because you are brushing their teeth? My 15 month old goes into this raging crying fit the minute the toothbrush comes at her face. She has never been hurt by it, so I don't understand what she is feeling/fearing. I know that is the point of the day/night that I simply dreads to the point of anting to sit and cry and im not a crier! Once im done, she is fine but until I am, she screams and cries so violently that we are both an emotionally stressed mess by the time she is done. Thanks, Jenny

    ReplyDelete
  33. I love Margot Sunderland! Such a great passage of her book, too!

    If anyone wants more on this subject, I'd humbly offer this: http://locallocale.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/friend-of-foe-turning-childrens-upsets-into-assets-for-the-family-how-to-be-a-parent-nathan-m-mctague-empathy-parenting-advice/

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails