The Tantrum. Use this surprisingly simple tool to ease them to a stop.
Updated: Mar 7, 2021
Close your eyes and picture the last power struggle you had with your children.
What was it about?
How long did it last?
How did you react?
What do you wish could have happened?
I want to share a secret about myself with you that might make you want to close this screen out of disgust and distrust, but I promise, it is true! And there is a reason for it. Are you ready to trust and lean in?
Ok...here it is...
I have NEVER once yelled at my child.
Are you still with me? Yes, yay! Ok, so here's the caveat: that does not mean I don't get
at times! Of COURSE I do! After all, I am only human.
And I bet you're thinking, "Ok, then, she feels those things but she simply doesn't show it."
Nope! That's not the answer either.
The reason I have never once yelled at my child (other than the fact that I had PLENTY of practice on the poor souls I taught in my early years in the classroom - if you are reading this and thinking of Ms. Mass's first grade classroom at P.S. 138 in the Bronx, then I am sorry for all the times I lost it with you!! I loved you!!) is this:
I have an open, HIGHER VIBRATION.
Now, you must be thinking, "OK, Sivanne, thanks a lot for this woowoo crap..." but wait! Stick with me here!
Some foundational brain science first: have you ever heard of the flipped lid?
What is Flipping the Lid? Basically according to brain development theory, flipping the lid is when the prefrontal cortex, which is your thinking center, has lost connection and cannot function, leaving us with just our amygdala, our animal brain, and in fight, flight, or freeze. We then operate from a place of fear and can’t separate from it.
(If you want to read more about how flipped lids work and what we can do when our children have a huge feeling, here's a special freebie gift that I usually only give to my parent coaching clients. But I love you for being here, so enjoy this info sheet!)
When our children flip THEIR lid, most parents also tend to flip their own lids. OR, even more common, we react to a trigger and flip our OWN lid, thus flipping our children's. Might you relate?
Before I talk about my simple tool to close the flipped lid, here are some other important things to consider around the tantrum:
What was happening right BEFORE the tantrum?
What were you thinking and feeling?
What might your child have been thinking and feeling?
What time of day was it?
How well fed was your child? How well fed were you?
How much energy did you and your child have? How much sleep had you gotten?
Is there any repeating behavior here?
Were your expectations fair? Consider if they were fear, shame, or anger-led instead of logical and realistic.
What were your non-negotiables and where might you have given choice?
Ok! So now that we've neutrally observed the environment that might have led to the tantrum, consider this: from now on, simply through the act of having observed what was happening from a neutral and curious viewpoint, you get to do something about it and plan better for the next time around!
This is because the moment we begin to learn about flipped lids and take ego or feelings out of the situation, and instead approach the calm logic of unpacking the heart of what might have occurred, we are never the same again. We are already moving closer to that HIGHER VIBRATION. We are already dissecting our possible fear/shame/anger tapes from what was truly happening.
Now, we get to decide what we're going to DO about it next time around! And that is the secret of the higher vibration.
Because when we experience big emotions, we can either be INSIDE them and let them CONTROL us or we can write a new story.
So here is how I use higher vibration to stop the tantrum cold (both my child's and my own!)
The next time a big emotion begins, you can welcome in a higher vibration by following these steps:
Notice how you feel in your body
Allow the feeling to move through (it only takes 90seconds for emotions to move through our bodies if you don't fight or push or ignore them!)
Say hello to the feeling
Observe it with curiosity
Ask yourself, "what must I believe in order to be feeling this way?"
Then, wonder if that must be so
If possible, give this experience a name so you can meet them again (some of my most recent patterns are "Not Enough Girl" and "You Don't Get To Have This")
Take some deep, loving breaths and welcome the pattern to your life
Say thank you, thank you, thank you to the moment
Notice what it is trying to inform you about
Ask yourself what might happen in stead
Welcome in that higher vibration - THEN react
These might seem like a lot of steps, but once we get good at noticing and welcoming in the higher vibration, it should take but a minute!