When kids are under stress or frustration, they lose their tolerance, their love of fun and their easy going ability to make each day a good one. They seem a lot more challenging and maybe even do things that don’t make one bit of sense to you.
It is times such as these where parents need to play a positive role. It is important to set limits on a child’s behaviour to help them with the stress they are under. With children, understanding and patience are the most important needs. Without them, you won’t have the ability to fix the problem either and instead opt for harsher ways to get them to cooperate.
Jennifer Ndiwerekazi, who just had her second child at King Faisal, says that contact is the most important thing. “Create a bond with the child that will help them open up to you much easier when they are upset or demanding for something.”
“With my four year old Chloe, I get down to eye level and ask what is going on. I ask her to tell me why she’s yelling or why she’s insisting on the blue dress taken for washing. When she notices I’m not upset, she calms down much easier as opposed to trying to get her to calm down when you are also frantic,” she said.
My three year old niece Karabo is one of the most dramatic people I know. “I’m not happy” is what she usually says when she feels she’s being misunderstood or denied something. Sometimes she insists she is not my friend and I have to be very careful when she says that. If you choose to play her game and tell her that you don’t care if she’s your friend or not or that you are not hers either, it will send her into an outburst loud enough to shatter the windows!
The best thing to do is to let her be mad for a while, maybe for a minute or two because she also doesn’t appreciate her anger not being taken seriously. Eventually, when she looks like she’s in the mood to talk, I call her and ask her what the problem is. I also re-assure her that our friendship is too strong to break and that I will always be her friend whether she is happy with it or not!
“Children who are under stress can’t think well. They can’t process what we tell them, so they don’t do what we ask. You must expect this, and step in, gently but firmly, to see that they don’t continue to do irrational things,” says Jennifer.
After stepping in to prevent your child from doing things that don’t make sense, they will most likely begin to cry, storm, or tantrum. Do not worry too much for this is constructive. It is a child’s way of getting rid of the tension that made her unreasonable in the first place.
Eventually, they will regain their ability to listen, be cooperative, and make the best of the situation at hand. All you need is rational behavior on your part.