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Tantrum & Anger

Sat discusses with parents how to best help their (small) children deal with anger and tantrums.

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Question: What is the best way to handle it when the child gets very angry? Like my son Luca (6 years old) may be if he hurts himself or something doesn’t go his way sometimes he just gets fiery and very like … I don’t know, it feels like he lashes out in a little 6 year old way and for me it’s hard to watch. I don’t know what to do with it, but he is definitely not hearing me at that point. What do you do when your kid is fiery and like angry and reactive?
Sat: I think you answered it by saying that at those times your child doesn’t seem to listen and that you don’t know what to do. Do nothing, let him throw his tantrum, we cannot stop kids from throwing a tantrum when they are not in control of their feelings, as we are at times as grownups. He is expressing some frustration or whatever it is, it is all emotion. But I would not let it go [on] after he calms down, maybe later on you really talk to him about how at that moment there is another way to handle things that will bring him more peace. Not every time, but now and then remind him that there is a tool, there is a way that will be more tranquil for him, not so much for you but for him. And you might want to mention, because he is a smart kid, that later on in life this tool, if used during childhood, will make a huge difference in his life from un-peacefulness to peacefulness!
So, it is not that we want to control anybody’s reaction or their feelings. But I think the aim is to also give them tools as we had gotten, so that they feel that there is another way of handling things when it is possible, not always, that will have less consequence and more peace.
I will give you an example. Two days ago, I was with my two grandkids, both boys, and we were playing dodgeball. My son threw the dodgeball and it hit one of my grandkids and his foot went into the grass, bent and he fell. And he started crying really hard and holding his foot. I was just watching it and of course if it was My own kid, I would hold him to My chest and just be quiet and just hold him, but his father had already done that.
Then after a minute or so I went to his ears and said “I just want to remind you of who you are. You know you are the light and just think of that and your pain goes away.” These are the two children who I am not with all the time at all - this is not something that I say or they see or anything like that. Within seconds, when he got reminded, something happened in him and I said it in his ears. I didn’t want to voice it big, [for it] to become an ordinary suggestion. He was ok after that, he just got up. That has happened a few times the past two weeks, where I went and whispered in their ears saying, “I just want to remind you of who you are.”
Question: Sat joon, the tool for me would be just watching the anger and to look at it. Is this the appropriate answer I could give to him?
Sat: Yes, you just let him throw it [the tantrum]. Listen, nobody is in control of their feelings and mind and body. The body does what the body does, the feelings do what the feelings do and the mind thinks. But once we learn to watch and also teach our children afterwards (not during the time, we can’t say “Just quiet down, just quiet down…”). Later on, when we talk to them and explain that there is another way that will bring them more peace, what we have done is we did not control or condemn their behavior, we just gave them something that they can use throughout their lives, which is if you think it doesn’t feel good, then it doesn’t feel good and here is what you can do about it.
We should never be controlling with our kids, because we can’t even control ourselves, how can we control our kids? They are not at fault; it just happens to them. These are all accumulated impressions from many lifetimes where some kids become very reactive, some not so much, some have more anger, some have more sadness, etc. These are an accumulation of expression and expression is very, very … it is the cause of everything. You know the child sees something and it leaves an impression and then later on it comes through the mind and feelings. And there is nothing we can do about that.

Parenting Call
June 26, 2021

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