4 Actions Of Yours Which Impact Your Child’s Emotions
I could barely watch the video.
The mother shouted out orders like, “Stop shaking your legs.” “Why don’t you look at the book?” “Sit straight.”
It went on and on. The interaction of 30 minutes was dotted with repeated instructions. The mother was irritated because the child would not listen.
The angel with ringlets in her hair, tried to follow her mother’s instructions. I could see the distress in her body movements and eyes.
In another case, I saw the stress and pain in the mother’s eyes.
“I just can’t get away from his questions. He repeats each question a dozen times and he wants me to answer a particular way. I lose my patience eventually. I get so angry with him that I end up slapping him.”
This young man is incredibly handsome and intelligent. I see the stress in his body language and mannerisms too.
Both cases are totally different. Yet both mothers had a common question.
Despite going through her own agony, she thinks of her child first. I dug deeper in both cases.
In case 1 the mother was traumatized by the way the child was treated at school. The class teacher had given her an ultimatum. If the child didn’t start behaving in the classroom, she would have to be removed from school.
In the second case, the mother was fed up of the obsessive behaviors and anxiety. After all, he was in grade 10. The stress of the exams coupled with constant questions had pushed her to break point. She just couldn’t handle the situation anymore.
I continued to dig. “Tell me how you feel when your child ‘misbehaves.”
Mother 1 – “She’s very intelligent. She does all her academics at home with me. Why does she behave like this at school.”
Mother 2 – “He understands everything. But he keeps getting stuck. Then his questions just don’t stop.”
Deeper still. “You’re still talking about your child. How do you feel?”
Mother 1 – “I feel desperate and frantic. My blood pressure rises. Then I can’t handle it anymore. I just give her a whack.”
Mother 2 – “I feel numb most of the time. I get drained with the questioning. I try to be patient. But I feel I’m going down a spiral. Then I can’t control myself anymore.”
Dear friend, these mothers aren’t alone. All of us have been there at some point or other.
No mother does this deliberately. In response to the common question that both mothers asked, I responded, “Yes, I can help your child. But first you’ll have to do something for me.”
1. List Your Triggers
“He knows how to press my buttons,” is a frequently used statement, isn’t it?
When you are in a calm state, think about behaviors in your child that trigger you.
One mom came up with this list of behaviors from her child that set her off.
a) crying without reason
b) uncontrollable laughter
c) constant stimming
e) making mistakes
f) repetitive questions
What are your triggers? Note these down.
2. Note Your Body’s Signals
How do you feel when you’re on the edge or irritated? Pay close attention to these signs.
You might feel your heart beat accelerating. Your tone of voice could change. Numbness and feeling paralyzed are common too.
I personally know I’m approaching my edge when I become instructive with Mohit. My voice tone changes.
Pay attention to your body. You will recognize when you’re approaching your edge too.
Sometimes, when you’re in a public place, it’s not possible to walk away. In such a situation change your response. Gear up and say, “I choose not be affected by what my child is doing. I’m strong enough to control my reaction.”
4. Keep Practicing
You’re not going to hit the jackpot at your first attempt. It’s a process of trial and error.
Some days, you’ll go over the edge. And that’s fine. Eventually, your system will become alert and you’ll be able to pick up signals accurately and take action appropriately.