How to Stop Children’s Crankiness and Temper Tantrums
Parenting
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Mothers often complain that they get very tired when dealing with small children. You would think that a child gets plenty of attention, but they still constantly try to tug at the mother or to get on her nerves in any way they can, all the way up to getting cranky or having a temper tantrum. Some think that children provoke them on purpose, try to take away their energy or “such them dry.”

Naturally, a young mother is upset if, despite her best efforts, something goes wrong. She looks for answers in books, asks for advice and tries various techniques, alas, to no avail. Few realize where the mistake lies.

Unfortunately, even being in direct physical contact and paying a lot of attention to her tot, the typical mom does not take into account the processes of energy exchange between mother and child. Besides, present-day social templates about how a “perfect mother” should act only add to the confusion.

The essence of the mother-child energy exchange is that children stay within their mother’s energy field until they turn seven. If mom is relaxed and does not shut herself off from the child — everything is fine. If she is tense, shuts herself off or is nervous — the child feels that mommy is not there. They automatically feel the need to make sure that she is near. How can they do that? They touch her, cuddle up to her. Alternatively, they may start to snap at her, become cranky or have a tantrum. In other words, they try to bring back mom’s attention.

If the child keeps bugging you, it means that you have shut yourself off from them, have stopped being in touch, in contact with them. You are next to them physically, but it is as if you had a glass cover over you. In that state you do not provide the feeling of safety, you give no support or nourishment.

Many women, in response to the extra touching, tugging and crankiness, try to “spend more time with the child” in the common sense: they set aside special additional time to talk, play or go out. However, the mother gets even more tired and the child does not get any calmer. Then she becomes vaguely irritated “I spend so much time with you, the only thing I don’t do is walk on my head, what else do you want?”

That is why lopsided advice of popular psychology about “spending more time” and “paying more attention” are no use. They don’t take into account the reality of each woman. If she has not the skill to relax, to feel the child or to include them in her field, then any external activity, any complicated tasks, conflicts, obstacles, etc. will make her tense and make her shut herself away from the child. The consequences are sure to follow.

How to get rid of your “glass cover”

So what do you have to do for the child to be calm and to feel protected by you?

First of all, you need to realize one really important point. The child will never bother you “just because.” If it happens, that means that you are not in harmony, you are worried or tense, maybe you have put on the “ideal mom” mask to go out. Your little one is trying to get you back from your snarl of worried thoughts, unhappiness, indecision or haste into the unhurried living through the now.

Why should you live in the now? Because it is the most effective state, living in the “here and now”, the feeling of everything that’s going on at the same time. Starting with the sensations of your body and your thoughts and all the way to what is going on around you. Such state is the cornerstone of safety, health and wellbeing. If you are not in harmony with the world, your child “signals” you about it right away because they lose the feeling of safety and feel acute discomfort instead.

Secondly, you need to fully realize the following point. Your energy is drained not by your child, but by your tension and by you forcing yourself in all sorts of ways, by lack of focus on the present and on troubled thoughts about the past or the future. So there is no sense at all in being irritated, shutting yourself off or in forcing yourself, trying to “give even more attention.” You need to improve your sensitivity and awareness in order to develop the skill of including your child in your inner space.

How can you keep the child in your field, how can you not shut them out depriving them of the invisible motherly support and protection? It’s very simple. First, learn to expand your awareness. Usually, a person perceives themselves as a physical body. That is the current level of awareness. However, you can expand your awareness as far as you want: to include your house, your street, your city, the country or the globe.

To do that, imagine that the boundaries of your body are expanding: first to include the room, then the house, the city, the country, the planet. Some feel more comfortable imagining themselves inside a large expanding bubble. There is an important point: start “expanding” beginning with your back, uniformly in every direction. To begin with, practice “filling with yourself” your house, as if the boundaries of your body coincide with those of your home.

Your internal space that you are aware of is now large enough. It is time to include your child in it, to feel them inside your field and to feel their movement in your body. Development of such sensitivity is the skill to include another person in your space of awareness at any distance, to feel them. Such sensitivity is often called empathy.

A child who feels that the mother is constantly in touch with them, that she keeps them in her inner space, has no need to make sure that she is near; after all they feel protected by her all the time. The bugging stops; the little one feels entirely safe and gets busy with their own thing — learning and playing.

To keep the space of awareness expanded and to include the child in it is a trainable skill. I spoke about it in detail at the Psychosomatics seminar.

So, the first thing you do if the child does “something wrong” is come back to the present and relax. If you have the skill of expanding your space of awareness, the relaxation comes automatically.

Then, you include the child in your field as described above and feel their every move inside your body. Observe what happens next, I will not tell you; let it be an open experiment for you.

Here is another important point. When you are with the child in play, while going out, or in other activities, try not to let your mind wonder to your work, plans or the spinning of an internal dialogue. Ideally, you should be able to focus on your sensations only and get rid of all thought.

It is better if you have 15 minutes of pure joy and complete involvement in communication, touch and sensation than three hours of “spending time” when your body is there, but in your mind you are trying on a dress or finishing up a late project.

Imagine that your involvement in communication with your child is like water for a plant. What do you think is better — to generously pour out two buckets into a bush or to water it for three hours by a tablespoon and use up half a bucket at most? Of course, the former is better. Involvement need not be round the clock, it needs to be life-size and sufficient. It should also be as regular as watering a plant.

The more often you come back to the present, relax and include the child in your field, communicating with them 100% when you are with them, the less you will see of tantrums, crankiness and unreasonable bugging. Your child will also become calmer, more confident, cheerful and happy. Because with your own state you will give them something more valuable than the common “more time.” Try it, it’s all up to you.

Date of publication: 9 August 2018
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