Back-arching, jello legs, hitting, yelling, kicking, sobbing, throwing…a true melt-down or tantrum in progress…not very pretty nor fun and all while:
…in the middle of the cereal aisle in the grocery store–maybe with various items launching themselves out of the cart like one parent mentioned of recent regarding a jar of orange juice…and another, a jar of salsa…
…visiting your in-laws…you know, the ones who always leave you feeling less than adequate as a parent…
…exploring the museum that you finally got your courage up enough to take your child to because you REALLY wanted to show them the cool child-centered, hands-on exhibits that all your friends say are a must to see…
…at the restaurant squeezed into a tiny booth surrounded by dozens of other people enjoying their meals…enough said.
…all places public–you name it!
All eyes upon you.
Maybe even anger–the kind that leaves your hand twitching, as one dad recently said.
It feels like judging eyes, critical eyes, eyes that are saying, “Control your child!” “What a brat, can’t you make her behave?” “At least MY kids are minding.” We can FEEL the negativity emanating from all the adults watching as we (often) desperately try to “get our child to behave” (meaning, to stop melting down…).
You’ve been there…in some fashion or another–I know, because I have, too. It is a common theme for parents.
Just think, what could be different if, in those moments, all the eyes upon you were sending you support, understanding, and encouragement? What if instead of feeling negativity we actually feel accepting, affirming, uplifting energy?
What if all eyes upon us were really communicating
“Oh yes, it is TOUGH when our kids lose it in public!”
“I can see how mad she is that you had to say no to what she wanted.”
“He really is done with sitting still!”
“My little one had her tantrum right in the middle of my friend’s wedding!”
“When your husband was a little guy, he did EXACTLY the same thing. I remember feeling really frustrated about it!”
What could be different?
I believe you’d be able to feel calmer…more patient…to maybe even allow your child the space (maybe away from the broken orange juice and salsa jars or the popular museum exhibit) to continue melting down until they felt calmer once again.
I believe you’d feel the kind of support and encouragement that has you feeling bolstered, empowered, part of a team–even with strangers, or maybe especially with strangers–who can truly move through this big upset with grace. Confidence (yours) could lead the way–confidence that “This, too, shall pass”, that “My child is learning a bit more about his feelings and how to manage them and I know I can help him”, that “I can move through this positively…”
I believe things could be very, very different. Today look upon another parent’s potentially embarrassing, anxiety producing moment and send them thoughts of compassion, understanding, encouragement.
Intentionally think thoughts of:
“I get it! I know you can make it through this.”
“Your little one is having a tough time and I understand.”
“Hmmm, I wonder what I could do or say that could help this parent the most?”
And then, if inspired to do so, step into the fray and let this over the top stressed parent KNOW you understand, appreciate the BIG feelings–theirs and their child’s, offer a helping hand with a quiet cheerfulness. Or maybe just meet their eyes and give them an encouraging smile–one that says, “I’m comfortable in your child’s melt down, it is okay.” Whew. What a relief that can be, to have another let you know they are comfortable in the big discomfort you are in the midst of.
Just think, what could be different today, right now, if all the eyes upon you were encouraging, understanding, accepting?
What could be different if you felt the comfort of support?
©2015 Alice Hanscam
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