Breathing Through Temper Tantrums
Temper tantrums can be exhausting and upsetting for both you and your child. You may start to feel hopeless and that you are a “bad parent” because you may have ran out of options for how to handle your child’s meltdown. Parents, your feelings are valid too! You are not a “bad parent”! Below is a diagram showing and explaining the four techniques. Every week you can introduce a new breathing exercise and find new ways to incorporate it into your parenting style. These techniques will help your child learn how to better regulate their emotions and help calm them when they are in a heightened state.
Four Breathing Strategies: Feel free to cut these cards out and make a book or poster out of them
How do I teach my child these exercises?
1. Teach yourselves calming strategies first and teach your child second. If you can’t understand it then neither will your child
2. Model calming. A young child’s self-regulation system is not developed enough to self-soothe, so if we are calm, they can start to calm.
3. Breathe. Getting enough oxygen permits us to access the higher centers of our brains that house executive skills like impulse control, empathy, and flexibility.
IMPORTANT: Remember to practice these breathing techniques when your child is not in a heightened state. Try to incorporate these strategies into a game so the child is engaged and learning. This will be beneficial for later on when your child becomes upset.
Co-Parenting and Communication
Communication is important when co-parenting, especially when both parents are living separately. Both co-parents are responsible for communication, but when one parent gets off-track and heads towards conflict, it can be difficult for the other to not follow. Reduce the chances of sparking conflict by agreeing to a few communication guidelines (Boyan & Termini, 2009).
Tips on How to Develop New Communication Skills with Your Co-Parent
1.) Agree on a method of communication (Text, Phone calls, E-mails, or Web-based forums)
2.) Discuss the frequency of communication: Usually once a week is fine unless there is an emergency or other special situation.
3.) Select appropriate issues for discussion such as your child’s health, your child’s school performance, your child’s extracurricular activities, time management problems, and changes to the schedule.
4.) Use a respectful tone
5.) Avoid negative body language such as rolling of the eyes, giving disapproving looks, or having an aggressive body stance
6.) Select your words with care. Try to avoid words that criticize, blame, accuse, interrogate, command, or demand.
Citation: Boyan, S. B., & Termini, A. M. (2009). Crossroads of Parenting and Divorce: 5 Steps to Prevent Divorce Abuse. Active Parenting Publishers.
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