It’s a natural phenomenon. When the child acts out, it pushes our buttons which lead us to go into the ‘fight or flight’ mode. This is how we would have seen things in our childhood and this is how we are naturally going to react. But, one thing to remember here is that the reason we think of something as ‘natural’ is that we would have been through all of this, and hence we perceive it as natural. Most of us would have seen our parents to be punitive when we would act out. Therefore, being punitive when our kids act out seems like a natural solution.
Nevertheless, getting our buttons pushed and following the leads of those triggers is really not something that can be defined as natural, at least when it comes to parenting. Children are the younger beings who are emotionally immature. They act out because they do not find other ways to convey what they are feeling. So, how would you react when someone sends you a message for help? You are certainly not going to punish that person for sending the message. Hence, this ‘acting out’ has a massage behind it and we need to open that envelope to read the message.
The simple answer of how to help the child who acts out is to empathize. Sometimes, only acknowledging the child’s big feelings make him cooperate. May be the child would start calling you as the worst parent and cry. This is not the disrespect kid is showing. It’s just the big emotions which the child wants to get rid of. All you need to do here is to listen and acknowledge.
Most of the times, children just want to be understood. When you assure the child that you are going to think about the concerns he/she is having, you might see positive change starting to occur.
However, there may be the times when your empathy would trigger the misbehavior to arise. Don’t worry, these are big feelings the child just wants to vent out. But, there is something that you need to do in order to help the child vent out those big emotions.
Play with the kid
Playing ride on cars or roughhousing is the great trick to make the child to get rid of the big feelings which are bothering him. Roughhousing usually results in the giggling which is really good for the kid. This giggle doesn’t only help the kid to get rid of the big feelings but also from the emotional backlog which he keeps increasing over time. Furthermore, this session also results in the release of oxytocin which is also termed as the bonding hormone. Hence, the child would be more reconnected to you in the end.
Letting her Cry
In order to start the roughhousing session, you can start with the humor. When the child shows positive signs in response to the humor, you can go one step forward to start the roughhousing. But, the child, sometimes, may not want to respond to the humor. Hence, it wouldn’t make any sense to start the game or roughhousing session. It would simply mean that emotions are so big that they are past the point of being resolvable through play. In that case, you can empathize more to the kid in order to make her convey the feelings. You might not like the way child would convey the feelings because it may involve a blaming your parenting. But, you don’t need to take it personally. The child just doesn’t know how to convey the feelings. Once the child would stop crying, you can show a little more empathy to make the child feel better. Remember, you should strictly avoid getting your buttons pushed. It will only make things worse.