For the most part, we as adults know how to handle our emotions when they arise.
We all have our days when we need to have our music loud, get in an intense workout, chat with our friends or co-workers or even just walk away. Over time, we have learned how to self-regulate as well as de-escalate ourselves in situations that may arise causing us to feel overwhelmed.
Children, however, may not have yet developed the skill set needed to self-regulate. They may act out in many ways because they do not understand how to express how they are feeling. This is the time the situation may escalate and tantrums arise.
When children are trying to express their feelingsit may also be done in a physical way more than we would like. We often hear people say, “Stop crying, you are OK!” or “You need to stop right now!” – when really it is alright for the child to cry and be upset.
As parents, we must remember to validate our children’s feelings and talk to them in a respectful manner. Explain to your child that there may be times when they are mad, sad, frustrated, angry, happy or excited and that is all part of being who they are. What we need to do as parents is teach them ways to express their emotions that are acceptable and to help them self-regulate.
Here are a few tips to help de-escalate unwanted behavior:
By using these techniques, we not only are able to de-escalate the immediate situation, but also provide tools for children to learn and utilize when expressing themselves in the future.