In my post, Beginners Guide to RIE Parenting, I listed five key principles in RIE parenting. I have been reading and practicing RIE parenting for about eight months and have found this approach to parenting to be a great guide in not only understanding my daughter but finding confidence to parent her in a loving and respectful way. Below are 3 Things To Consider During a Toddler Tantrum (the RIE approach).
I want to first start with saying that the way we parent is such a personal matter. I believe that every family should make their own decision on how they want to parent their children and I respect them for doing what is best for their family. The RIE approach to parenting is the way that works best for our family and I feel like I have a duty to share what has been working for our little family since what kind of world would it be if we kept things to ourselves, right?! Now, onto the the 3 Things To Consider During a Toddler Tantrum.
- Crying is OK – Toddlers, are not able to fully verbalize their feelings to us. Crying is their language. If we come from a place of understanding or at least wanting to understand their language and respond to their cries in a calm manner we are able to more clearly assess the situation and respond accordingly. I was the first to jump at even the faintest whimper of my daughters cry. I wanted to hurry up and fix the reason why she was crying and “save the day.” I was so silly to think that I could or should. Letting our children cry, whimper, whine, throw a tantrum is their way of communicating to us. Crying is a natural, healthy reaction to a situation that doesn’t feel right. Heck, I want to cry sometimes, don’t you?
- Calm Breeds Calm – By being calm in a tumultuous situation, you show your toddler that nothing can phase you. You are their strong leader and will look after them even when they feel like they are loosing all control. This one is hard for me, I am naturally a hot head (although I have chilled out a lot since being married to the ultimate go with the flow man). When I feel myself getting worked up when Emma throws a tantrum I use a visualization technique I learned from Janet Lansbury. I picture myself as a CEO of a large company who is leading a team of adults through a rough situation. This CEO doesn’t get ruffled when chaos arises, she leads her team through with wise, thoughtful encouragement and guidance. You can use any visualization that works for you, it’s just important that you really can visualize yourself as that “character.”
- Don’t Explain Reason – Explaining reason to a toddler who is in the middle of a meltdown is just crazy talk. Instead, I found it helpful to observe, accept and acknowledge her feelings. Coming from a place of respect and truly acknowleding sounds like this…“it sounds like you are upset about XYZ” and leave it at that. I found that after I made this simple statement and left the area for a minute or so Emma was able to work out her feelings and settle down.
If you are interested in learning more about RIE Parenting, check out this post where I listed great RIE Parenting resources.