I once heard a wonderful story of a parent shopping for groceries in a supermarket. The child kept throwing tantrums during the entire shopping experience. But the parent kept repeating the phrase “Chris, you are safe” and with a very calm-manner reassured the child “we are almost done.”
The same type of episode repeated in every aisle but he kept on repeating the same answer. “Chris, you are safe”.
Impressed, another parent in the store followed them. “Excuse me, sir,” he interrupted. I couldn’t avoid noticing your calm ways in answering your child. How do you do it? Stay so calmed?
Surprised he revealed his secret. “You don’t understand, I am Chris.”
Staying in composure means that you are able to stay calm in the middle of a situation.
Let’s review some of the steps to remain in composure during stressful situations.
"You Are Safe"
Like the father in the story, remind yourself as many times as you need to that “you are safe.” That phrase will allow you to keep focus on your emotions and in control of the situation.
You can focus on your breath, practice mindful breathing, or remind yourself of a peaceful place. Whatever works for you!
Just remember not to act on your emotions.
Respond to the situation from a place of mindful reflection and calmness with a phrase like “we are almost done.”
Model the Behavior for Your Child
Remind yourself that young children are learning how to communicate frustrations, emotions, and challenges from you.
Don’t take it personally - your child is not throwing tantrums on purpose to get you upset. That is the way they learn how to communicate emotions or feelings.
Help Your Child Identify the Emotions
Is your child bored? Frustrated? Once you identify the emotion, make a plan of action on how to deal with the issue the next time.
Tantrums are predictable. Usually they happen in the same type of situations.
For example, if your child gets bored in the supermarket, you might turn the experience into a scavenger hunt.
If your child is angry because he wants to buy something you don’t want to buy and throws a tantrum, make a plan of action before you go to the supermarket.
Focus on the Lesson, Forget the Crowd
Sometimes you have to be ready to ignore the crowd. I often see young parents in public places dealing with tantrums and my heart goes out to them.
What I wish I would have known when I was a young parent is that everyone that has a child understands that tantrums are part of the way children learn to deal with their emotions.
People that get upset haven’t been around kids.
Remember that “composure is becoming the person you want others to become,” says behavioral expert Dr. Becky Bailey.
That means that when you practice self-control, you are able to model the behavior for your child.
If you are ever in a similar situation, just remember to start by reassuring yourself, “I am safe. I am calm.”
You can do it too!
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By Marnie Forestieri
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