Last updated on Jun 21st, 2021 at 12:21 pm
When kids are ‘acting out’ it’s not just about them purposefully being disrespectful. There are underlying emotions that need to be dealt with.
Parents are asking more questions about behaviour, and trying to understand the link between their children’s emotions and their actions. Parents are trying to help their children navigate their emotions better.
Dr Chawanna Chambers (or Dr Chae as she’s known to her readers on her website) recently shared an interaction she had with her 6-year-old daughter on Twitter. Her daughter was being rude to her and did not want to tell her why. When she probed her daughter and asked the right questions, she received the kind of feedback she needed from her daughter to understand her behaviour.
According to child-parent expert Dr Jenny Rose “It’s really hard to take a step back in those very big moments when our kids have strong reactions and are probably triggering us too.”
Dr. Jenny suggests that parents should “try view that meltdown or tantrum as something not at all about us, but rather about them, and what they’re going through.”
She teaches parents that the child’s emotion should not be disqualified. “Say yes to the emotion but no to the behaviour.”
This realisation steered Dr Chambers down a path of curiosity and not a power trip. “I think about all the ways I “could’ve” responded, particularly a power trip because “I’m the adult,” but she needed to process something not even about me.”
“Why are you being unkind to me? What happened?”
I noticed that my 6-yo was being a lil rude/curt w/me, so I asked her what was up. At first, she just looked at me, so I reiterated that I can’t help her if I don’t know what’s wrong.
Then I asked, “Why are you being unkind to me? What happened?”
— Chawanna (@DrChaeEd) April 2, 2021
She looked at me and said, “I don’t know,” and started crying. I told her, “It’s okay. Sometimes mommy just doesn’t feel happy too. You’re not in trouble. I just needed to know how to help.”
— Chawanna (@DrChaeEd) April 2, 2021
Turns out, she had no idea why she was behaving the way she was. “My brain tells me to be rude,” she said.
Like adults, Dr Chambers’s daughter was going through what many adults experience: a bad day.
The rest of the conversation centred around how she can make people around her aware that ‘’I’m not feeling my best self. I need a minute.” The two of them practised this line over and over again until she got it, smiled, and hugged her mom.
With over 20K retweets, Dr Chambers’s tweets resonated with a lot of adults, some even the same strategy to manage their emotions and their relationships.
I was about 35 years old when I learned this for myself. It was life changing. It allowed me to feel irritable and let my family, especially my husband, know that it was me feeling bad, and not them doing anything wrong. Life. Changing.
— Jenny Nunemacher (she/her) (@nunemaj) April 4, 2021
I really really really like how u did this. I feel like ppl forget that their children are humans with emotions and thoughts too.
— keep hatin on me & imma yank yo beady beads out (@ghettogreenbean) April 2, 2021
This is incredible. Thank you for the lesson…
— brett “Fish” anderson (@BrettFishA) April 2, 2021
This was beautiful to read. You’re teaching her to slow down and process her thoughts. You’ve taught her a lesson that will serve her well in life through the easy and difficult times. Well done and best of luck to you and your family.
— Chuba Ezekwesili (@ChubaEzeks) April 3, 2021
See this would have helped me out so much with my anger management issues from the age of 10-16 before I was put in counciling. My mother had to be “the Adult in charge” 24/7 and never took the time to ask me how I felt. Your daughter is blessed to have you.
— Sanji Simp