Updated: Apr 2
This is going back a few years, but I remember it well.
It was after Christmas and my eldest daughter had received a Marks and Spencer’s voucher, from her grandparents.
She was very excited about choosing some new toys.
It didn’t go well, she struggled to make a choice of what to buy. She kept changing her mind, was getting really stressed and angry, and was shouting at me.
Back then I didn’t have the training I have now and I reacted to her angry outbursts and her shouting by being stern and stressed out myself.
I now know this does not work with strong willed children, it adds more stress to their brain that is already in fight or flight mode.
But I was triggered, and I responded with
“If you don’t choose something now Mummy will spend the voucher”
This resulted in a 4 year old laying on the floor screaming. Shouting at the top of her voice.
“Don’t spend my voucher, Grandad bought me that”.
I wanted the ground to swallow me up and to be transported away from all the eyes watching us.
I needed to remove myself and both children from the situation immediately.
But my daughter had other ideas ,she still needed to spend her voucher.
I proceeded to pick her up and carry her screaming, pushing my other child in a buggy. The screams were piercing, and everyone was looking.
I took respite in a lift and this is where I lost my temper with my daughter as the door closed,
I had been an NNEB nursery nurse for 4 years when I had my first daughter and I thought I was patient, calm, and had lots of tools to deal with many situations.
What I did not realise was with your own children there are lots of emotions involved.
I also did not work with her unique temperament.
She was my challenging child, highly spirited, very strong willed, mathematical brain
(she went onto study for a maths degree, that’s how her brain works in logic). Not the same way my brain is wired.
So, we clashed.
If I knew what I know now about brain development, through training and experience I would have worked with her temperament.
She was adventurous, full of energy, bull in a china shop, liked to take risks, and a perfectionist. I reacted with sternness and this created distance, mistrust which made her push the limits further and be more defiant.
If I had involved her more in problem solving, giving her some calming strategies and tools to manage her big emotions. We could have worked as a team to solve the challenges and the resistance would have lessened.
This is now one of reasons why I always start my workshops with the sentence.
“Put your unique child in your head”.
Its never one size fits all when working with children, we need to find out what makes our children tick, their likes and dislikes, their strengths, and weaknesses, how they deal with failure or success and then work as a team to build skills for our children to use for life.
If you want to build your skills and knowledge to support your children with their challenging behaviours,
check out my next dates for my 4 week behaviour course.