My daughter put a hole in the wall last night.
No, it wasn’t intentional – she didn’t TRY to put a hole in the wall. But she did, and she did it out of anger and frustration. This child of mine seems to get angry, excited, happy, calm, frustrated and elated in a snap. There is not a whole lot of transition time or time for anyone around her to adjust to the energy. She just is. Right now. Intensely.
Let me be honest, I struggle with this. I struggle with keeping my cool and knowing where and how I can help – and not make it worse. When she gets upset, I immediately want to fix it so her emotions will calm down. Take her favourite blanket away from her brother and give it back to her. Tell her she doesn’t have to finish her schoolwork. Give her whatever food she wants because she doesn’t want what I made. Just give in already, for the damn sanity of everyone around.
I’m afraid this has been my method far more times than I’d like to remember. When she stomps to her room I follow and fix.
Follow and Fix.
Now that I think about it, I’ve never heard this method condoned by any experts or parents I admire. Huh.
So I look deeper and I wonder if there is a better way. Well, I don’t really wonder. I know there is. There is a way to encourage her to deal with her emotions yet provide the support to help her know I love her regardless of the hole she put in the wall. There is a way and I watch and learn from husband. Shoot, why are they right sometimes? Or lots of times?
Here it is. The 5 tips for dealing with a hot headed and intense wonder child.
- Realize that the emotions will pass. They will. And they may pass a lot sooner than we think. Your son will not always have fire coming out of his ears. I promise.
- Give him space. Admittedly, my Follow and Fix method is for the dogs. Sometimes, the kid just needs some space away from, gasp, you. It would be fair to wonder if he might be super frustrated with you and need a bit of space to cool down before talking it through.
- Give her support. The great thing about giving a little space is you get it too. If you’re anything like me, and I am going to assume there are some similarities, then when she flies off the handle, you want to also. But after the appropriate space, find a non-intrusive way to let her know you are available when she wants you. A light knock on the door to let her know you’re there. A simple “I love you” and head peek might do the trick.
- Take his cue for when he is ready. You might be surprised at how quickly he is ready for some snuggles, even if he is a cool ten years old. It’s scary to put a hole in the wall. It’s scary to feel so intensely. All he might need to go on with his day is some time on the couch with you reading a magazine together.
- Know when the right time is to talk about “it.” So the hole in the wall has to be repaired. And at some point it should be referred to. This point is when everyone is “over” whatever small issue blew up. My guess is that the kid is probably embarrassed about whatever way she let out her steam and isn’t going to be thrilled to discuss it. She has a brain and she knows that there were probably better ways to react. In other words – she doesn’t need a lecture. Instead, talk with her about figuring out how you two can fix the wall together, so to speak. Let her know that the consequence is often natural – and that she can find the resources to fix it.
- Finally, model the behaviour you want to see in your kiddo. This is easier said than done. Make it a goal, maybe? A lifetime process of modelling the behaviour you want to see in your kids. This one, I believe, is never fully realized, but it can be partially attained each day. On the good days, at least. Just give it a go.
This parenting gig is tiresome and alarming and frustrating and beautiful. Believe me, your kid is going to be ok. There is far more good that can be commented on than holes in the wall. But. Nevertheless. The hole must be fixed. I am off to help a child google “how to fix a hole in the wall.”
Over and out.