advice

Why I started naming tantrums and why it’s necessary!

Why our kids are just a smaller “us” and how to do our job to help them learn from what we learned. Even if we don’t even realize how we learned it….

That’s why I’m here. I’m bored. I think too much. I watch and over evaluate too much. Yes, it’s annoying but when the light bulb goes off, it’s so rewarding! And then I can’t wait to share it!

(And no, I don’t go google it first to see if everyone already figured it out. I want to be the genius in my own head!)

I’m sick. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I must go to the doctor and describe how I feel so I can pay him to give it a name.

But what if I couldn’t describe how I feel? Or wait! What if I didn’t have those FEELING WORDS in my vocabulary?

Ah…. Now you are catching on…

Until my third child, I had never heard the term “feeling words.” His teacher in 2nd grade used this to help them communicate to others in the class. Genius!

One day he was playing with a younger child next door. I saw him coming home, stomping his feet, small child running after him screaming his name to come back. He stopped in the middle of the yard and looked at him and said in a calm but stern voice, “I am going home because I’m annoyed at you right now.” I yelled his name because I thought he was being rude. The grandmother of small annoying child had emerged by now and we were both holding back our laughter at his next statement,

“Mom, I am just using my feeling words!” He said…

Yes, this child with his feeling words is probably my strangest child of the three, yet the most emotionally equipped. And I have his 2nd grade teacher to thank.

You see, we as adults may not have been raised with feeling words, may not have been allowed to express them, or most often were invalidated or dismissed.

How often did you hear and now hear yourself saying these cursing sentences:

“What the heck is wrong with you? Why are you acting like this?” As a toddler is screaming and crying?

Now, wait a sec… We already know what his answer would be if he could talk! We, as his parent, know certain cries mean certain things. Either they’re hangry, over-tired, or frustrated about something. They may not feel good or want your attention. Anyway – we know.

Now what if you changed your comments to that toddler and started with guessing what’s wrong and let them say yes or no? Oh!!! Wait!!! What if we then NAMED that emotion for them and VALIDATED it for them???!!! And what if!!! OMG, what if we teach them a sign language for that emotion along with the word until they are verbal, then that word just slips into their vocabulary to be used as a FEELING WORD!!!

Firework!!!

So if we, as adults, go to the doctor with a certain symptom, the doctor gives you a diagnosis AND (we will talk about this, too.) a way to treat it, to fix it, what to do NEXT TIME it happens? See where this is headed???

FACT: One of the biggest debilitating mental health issue in young adults today is ANXIETY.

Yes, there are many other issues, but I’ve discovered they all seem to be either rooted in or exacerbated by anxiety! But what is anxiety – besides the nail biting, panic attack, agoraphobic, fearful of stuff things we hear about?

Defined, anxiety is a feeling nervousness or unease typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

Okay. Let’s break this down…

Nervousness or unease – are these conscious feelings or do they just manifest themselves? Maybe they are learned? Like fear of speaking in public accompanied by “anxiety.”

Is this something we are born with? Or is it learned?

I vote for learned.

Something negative had to have happened to cause a person to be fearful of speaking to others, right? I HAD this problem. This was me. It wasn’t until I learned at the end of high school and then into college in a wonderful summer speech session class, that I didn’t need to worry about what MAY happen if I had to speak in front of others. All of those times in school when I gave a wrong answer or too many right ones, being called smarty pants, those feelings of embarrassment that created this fear I now had could be fixed.

And there’s a process to fix anxiety. Wanna know? It is partly from a 7 Habit, begin with the end in mind, and a planning sheet I once got on a pad of paper. This sheet was an anxiety planner. It was so simple. I’ll use one of my anxious issues.

1. Think about the task causing anxiety. Going to the grocery store.

2. Close your eyes and mentally walk through the task. How are you feeling? In my mind, I have already walked away from the buggy and left the store.

3. What part of this task caused you to have this feeling and why? My buggy was too full and I was afraid I didn’t have enough money or energy to put it all away.

4. Now, what can you plan for, in advance, to make sure that doesn’t happen so you can do this task? Well, I can calculate the food as I go. I can do half now and half later. Only put up the cold stuff.

5. So the next time you have this task, what plan can you do before so you know the triggers for anxiety don’t happen? I can estimate and keep my quantity to a minimum and I can estimate price to ensure I have enough money. A backup payment source is also a good thing. For real!

Wow, we have just solved the last part – with an uncertain outcome. If you have a PLAN for what COULD happen, there’s no more uncertain outcome! We’ve stated the possible outcomes and a plan for each should they occur!

So, what does this have to do with how I started???

I firmly believe that if we teach our children emotions are real, give them a name, help them recognize them, give them tools for handling them when they come up, ways to express them appropriately and verbally, well what else is there? We’ve given them one of the most important skills in life, all because we named their temper tantrums.

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