How do you handle frustration?
Do you vent to your spouse or a friend? Throw a mini-tantrum (albeit the “grown up” version)? Shut yourself into a bedroom and binge-watch Netflix with a pint of Ben & Jerrys? Punch a pillow? Go for a run? Pour a stiff drink? Meditate or pull out the yoga mat? Shrug it off and just move on?
Even as adults, we all find ourselves in situations that elicit behaviors we believe may help us cope with emotions…some perhaps healthier than others. While our mature minds may be better equipped for handling big emotions, we all still have our slip-ups; those moments we might look back on and realize that our behavior in response to the situation was less than stellar.
So why do we expect so much more from our children; whose neurological connections are still under construction and not yet fully able to process the big emotions that come along with life?
Even when misbehaviors are annoying, inconvenient, and frustrating, they still serve a purpose in development. If handled with empathy, consistency, limit-setting, and love, children can learn what behaviors work for them and what do not–both in getting what they want as well as getting the emotional stability that children crave.
So what’s the secret behind HOW to do this successfully? Well, if you figure out a method that works for every child in the world, please let me know! As with everything else in raising children, there is never a “one-size-fits-all” method.
Many factors can influence behavior, with age and brain development being at the top of the list.
We can take clues from understanding the brain development of a child and what is “age-appropriate” normal behavior to understand how we can effectively guide our kids. [Read more…]