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My Toddler is getting Angry Issue 381
June 12, 2015
|Hi there! ....
This week God has been talking to me about Courage. The definition I've been thinking on is that courage is Strength in the face of pain or grief. Joshua 1:9 says: Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go.”
Jesus doesn't dismiss our feelings - our feelings of pain or grief, but he confirms He is still with us.
So whatever situation you are in - you can go forth and do what God has asked of you, without fear, without being discouraged - because Jesus is with you. I pray that this thought strengthens your heart as it has strengthened mine.
This week I'm sharing a blog post: My Toddler is getting Angry; though it is relevant to all children as well. (Click here to read online)
Live life with your Kids!
My Toddler is getting Angry
Whether your child is a toddler or pre-schooler it is very confronting when they get angry. We really don’t like what we see, we feel it reflects on us poorly and we understand the difficulties ahead of our child if they don’t master this automatic response to things not going their own way.
A few things to remember as we approach this problem:
The most helpful thing we can do for a child in helping them gain control over their anger is to teach the issues of ‘self- control’ – give them the words and give them some strategies before they lose it. If self-control is a part of their world when things are going well, then you have some link to them for when things are going sour.
Teach self-control in any situation when they have to wait: in the highchair waiting for food, in the car waiting till other kids get unstrapped, in the shopping trolley while mum goes through the check out, while mum is on the phone.
Little Miss is three and I think it is time to teach her about the self-control traffic lights. You can download a free lesson and paper craft activity on the Character First website (Self Control) The idea is that when you see a red light you stop, yellow is a caution light and you think, and green is go.
I will also add some hand actions:
I will use words and signals like:
I like this dictionary definition of self-control: Control of one’s emotions, desires, or actions by one’s own will.
Initially a toddler and even a pre-schooler are not going to have the inner convictions and ability to keep their emotions, desires and actions in a way that doesn’t hurt, offend, or disrupt those around them. In a sense the parent becomes the child’s self-control – we build circumstances around our child (aka – life) which will enable them to manage their reactions, or will provoke them to losing it!
At church on Sunday Little Miss was sending off the signals that she was tired and grumpy. At that point I could build circumstances around her that would help her, or leave her in circumstances that would push her over the edge. Removing her from the situation she was finding frustrating – before she completely lost it would have been the best idea. Isn’t this how we practice self-control in our life? We remove ourselves – either physically, or emotionally by counting to 10.
It came to the point that I did remove her, I found a quiet spot, and gave her a vegemite sandwich. Everyone always does better in social situations when you have a full tummy. She gained some equilibrium and went off to play again. She ended up in tears, came back for some reassurance and it was certainly time to go home – past time!
So a few more things we can do to help our children have self-control, before they are really capable of managing themselves:
This is the key: We must have the attitude that we are there to help them; we are there to help them learn how to have self-control when things don’t go their way.
Even though we may do all the ‘right’ things – there will come a time when our little one gets angry. Once our toddler/pre-schooler has some sense of calm – the storm is over but the issue is not – then we can start to speak to them.
There are two other issues that need to be addressed: Consequences for getting angry, and the issue of broken relationships.
I find that natural consequences work the best, especially when we are in this teaching/training stage. The consequence of throwing a toy in anger, is the loss of play with that toy, the consequence for speaking mean words, is that you lose a friend to play with (time out from play) – as is the consequence for hitting or biting. When our consequences are related to the choices that our children make it helps them learn to think before they act – or at least it is the foundation for learning this.
Anger hurts our relationships, and we can teach our children this along with the strategies to have control over anger outbursts. Hurt relationships is a consequence of our anger, and we have a responsibility to patch things up, and get them right. A toddler can understand this. After our child has calmed down, recognised they made poor choices and are ready to start afresh – we need to help them say sorry and restore their friendships.
But to be honest, not every situation is an opportunity to teach saying “I’m sorry”. Sometimes the anger happens and the tears and screaming are at such a pitch that you just have to draw the line and say, ‘we are outta-here!’ There will be other times where your child can calm down, understand the consequences of their actions and be ready to say sorry – make the most of these – but don’t stress if this doesn’t happen every time. There will be plenty of time to teach this heart response.
Remember the definition of self-control: Control of one’s emotions, desires, or actions by one’s own will.
We are not just creating a habit of response – though that is a good thing. What we want our children to understand is that their choices, their actions affect other people – and that we need to always show love and respect towards other people. It is as this truth alone gets into their heart that they will start to have a desire to show self-control – of their own will. It is a long journey – I still have selfish reactions at times – but little by little as we lovinginly and patiently show our children the consequences of their choices, and the way to make better choices they will grow in self-control and manage their anger.
Digging around my blog archives you may also like to read:
Other blog posts I've written recently:
Duke of Edinburgh Award - for Homeschool Highschool, This award is not only very achievable for homeschoolers but can be a significant aspect of their highschool years.
Homemaking with things that make me Happy! - if you didn't read last week's newsletter I talked about homemaking with things that make me happy.
And digging into the archives I reposted: I've already told you once!
Blending Life with Lessons e-book - Does your everyday life challenge your homeschool ideas? This is my journey as I discover that it is possible to disciple my children in today's busy lifestyle.
Heart Focus Parenting book/e-book - A heart focused parent will keep their attention on their child's heart for God, instead of on external behaviours.
Restoring the Heart, Mind and Soul of Christmas Do your Christmas celebrations line up with what you believe? Do your celebrations help your children learn more about Jesus?
This e-book is based on a workshop I held for a couple of years to help families see that Christmas can be a significant tradition in our family life. If we are intentional about how our family celebrates we have the opportunity to use this time to teach our children about Jesus, and his love for each one of us.
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About Live Life with your kids Newsletter
Live life with your Kids newsletter is about being a deliberate parent, about enjoying family life and using the opportunities that happen to teach and train your children in righteousness (right living with God). I hope that you will find regular encouragement as you live life with your kids!
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