By Brenda Mercado, USAG Bavaria Family Advocacy Specialist
GRAFENWOEHR, Germany — Building healthy and positive interactions with your child can seem nearly impossible during moments of fits and tantrums. However, engaging your child and creating a positive parent-child relationship is essential.
According to the CDC, developing a safe, stable and nurturing environment can have a positive impact on your child’s development. Here are some tips to help parents manage their frustrations, while allowing your child to express their emotions.
1. STOP and Breathe! Stop in the moment and take a deep breath. Allow yourself a quick moment to regroup.
2. Get on their level! Children often have tantrums in moments when they are feeling frustrated and do not have the skills to appropriately express themselves. Lower yourself to their eye level. This is a time to express to them that it is okay to be upset, but there are better ways to achieve their desired outcome. Example “I understand you’re upset, but can you show/tell me what is wrong or what you would like?”
3. Take a Break! Let’s face it, sometimes a child isn’t at the point where they want to reason or can be easily directed. Take a break, stand up and allow yourself to calm down, while allowing your child to express themselves. Nothing will get resolved if you are trying to yell over a screaming child.
4. Communicate! Make sure you communicate your frustrations with your child after your break. This would be an appropriate time to say “Mommy/Daddy was upset because …” or “Mommy/Daddy doesn’t like it when you …” Remember to take this opportunity to educate your child on alternative ways to express their feelings.
5. Embrace! Show your child the love and affection they need. Play, hug and laugh! There is nothing sweeter than the laugh of a child enjoying their carefree life.
Taking the time to manage your frustrations when dealing with child tantrums is one step closer to creating safe, stable and nurturing relationships with your children. These types of relationships and environments are not only important for your children’s development, but are also important in the prevention of child maltreatment. The World Health Organization defines child maltreatment as the abuse and neglect that occurs to children under 18 years of age.
U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria’s Family Advocacy Program is participating in Child Abuse Prevention Month in April and has many activities and opportunities for you to increase awareness and prevention. For more information, contact USAG Bavaria Army Community Services at DSN 476-2650, CIV 09662-83-2650.