The “whims” of our small or large children are nothing new. We commonly call “caprice”, when our child expresses his disagreement in an awkward way, on something that seems to us – to us – unimportant. Small, ihe is angry for an unfortunate candy. She refuses to return a toy. They hit the boyfriend who called them “baby” … And bigger, he stumbles when we turn off the TV. How to avoid these wobbly situations and help them express their disagreements, their emotions more skillfully ?
Caprice child: the explanation
First, it is important to know the scientific explanation for the child’s whim. Neuroscience research has shown that the part of the brain called the “temporal and frontal lobes of the neocortex” (as you wish!) Which allows us to regulate our emotions, is not yet developed in infants *. During the first 5 years of a child’s life, this part of the brain will be formed, to mature in adolescence. We can tell them to stop their childish whim, to calm down, to reason with each other, that will not have much results. Not because our children don’t want to listen to us, but because their brain does not yet allow them to reason with themselves !
Then what often makes us say that our child is “having a whim” is that we consider the object of his frustration unimportant. It is then that we forget that our child is above all .. a child 🙂 And thathe does not have the same centers of concern as us. Just like other adults do not always have the same centers of concern as us. For our man, a tidy living room is extremely important, for our wife she wants us to finish our plate, and our child, he wants to finish the game he started, before going to the table. What if we accept that everyone does not have the same concerns?
And at the same time, we can help our child to take a step back from the situation, and to express himself other than by rolling on the floor. Here’s how.
Faced with a child’s whim, help them become aware of their emotion
The 1st step so that our child can better express his emotions (avoiding hitting the neighbor), is that he becomes aware of what he is feeling. Why ? Because it is by taking this first step to become aware of the unpleasant emotions that pass through us that we will be able to step back and react less impulsively. And cis of course also true for us adults. For example, you can be angry with a colleague, talk to him with a touch of aggression, without being really sure that you understand the reason. And then if we ask ourselves, if we think about it, we can perceive that we are angry with it, because we find it for example too intrusive, or because we did not like it. one of his thoughts.
It is besides this method that the mistress of my daughter adopted in front of the “whim of child” of one of her comrades.. Result: immediate return to calm. Here is the anecdote.
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Story of a child’s whim “like the others”
A dad was about to read a story to 5 classmates, including his daughter, before going to work. The little girl snatched the book from her father’s hands, and wouldn’t give it back. The father obviously scolded his daughter, and tried to reason with her: “The book is for everyone, you give it back.” Otherwise I don’t read a story ”. Emotional storm, her little daughter burst into tears! Then she hugged the book even tighter. “Nooo!” “. The teacher intervened: “I don’t think it’s the book Juliette doesn’t want to lend, but her daddy that she doesn’t want to share. You wish your daddy read a story just to you, right? “. She had seen it right. Juliette instantly calmed down. She felt understood.
If, when Juliette ripped off the book, her daddy had verbalized her daughter’s emotions, without judgment (“You don’t want me to read everyone a story, you’d rather I read one for yourself? , is that it? ”), she would no doubt have been more attentive. It was only then that we could have guided it towards a search for a solution of the type: “How do we do it ?!” There are plenty of children in the classroom and we are not going to put up a barrier so as not to let them pass 😉. If I read a story to you in class, we can’t stop the others from coming and listening to it. So either we don’t read a story, and I’ll read one to you tonight, or I’ll read one to you now, and too bad if there are others listening. And I’ll read you a second one tonight just for you… What do you prefer? “. And Juliette would probably have chosen the option of continuing reading. You will have noticed, moreover, that we arrive at the same conclusion in both cases: “If you take the book, I won’t read you a story”. Corn in one, we go into opposition, in judgment, we consider our child’s reaction to be “unacceptable”. In the other, we understand what he is feeling, so we help him to understand his reaction himself, a priori irrational. And in the end, we manage to reason with it and continue the story!
You will tell me: it takes time! It’s certain. However, if we do the math, it is often faster to take the time to try to understand what our child is feeling and to express to him, than to deal with a drama that then escapes us.
Show that we understand and verbalize
Understanding our child, welcoming his emotions and using words can help us avoid many “whims”!
One morning, my daughter picked up a small drawing that one of her comrades had given to the teacher. She didn’t want to give it back. Faced with the normally pressing wait for the other mother, who wanted to hang the famous drawing on the wall before leaving, I tried to reason with my daughter, without success. Running out of ideas (and patience), I end up using force: “Well, I’m going to have to take it out of your hands, it’s a shame.” Of course, it ended in drama … A poorly expressed emotion, which is awkwardly called “childish whim”.
Afterwards, I didn’t blame myself for not having a more docile daughter, but rather for forgetting to be empathetic! The goal is not to feel guilty, but simply to take a step back from our automatic reactions, and see the possibilities of doing differently the next few times.
“I understand you want to keep it. You too would have liked to give a drawing to the teacher. That’s it ? “. Guaranteed pressure drop! She would have understood this jealousy that she felt, of which she was perhaps not even aware, and she would have felt understood! And so I could have found an alternative: “You know, it’s very nice of you to want to please your mistress too.” If you want, tonight, we’ll make him a super nice drawing and you can give him tomorrow! We won’t forget, okay? “. And she probably would have let us take back the piece of paper. And I would have really “won”.
Using the force, I only fueled his inner anger. By using comprehension, I first increase my chances of achieving my ends (that she returns the drawing). And next time, instead of taking over the drawing, she might think about expressing her frustration or sadness …
Because, yes, learning to listen to what is happening in us, then to express it to the other, it is a path of learning which requires help and models. By developing the ability to put words on it, she can more easily calm down. “Mom, I too would like to draw a drawing for the teacher!” “. And we avoid that the emotion is expressed through inappropriate behavior.
Why can’t we easily adopt this attitude in the face of our children’s “whims”?
Of course, it is not easy to apply! In our hectic life, we are often in a hurry. We find it difficult to take the time to say the 3 sentences that could have saved us. We seldom have our minds open and attentive enough in the present moment to seek to understand our child, rather than focusing on the next step.
So the interest also in doing work on yourself to be more in the present moment, to take breaks so that when we are with our child, we are 100%.
Finally, despite all this, it is not always easy to understand our child. Perhaps in childhood, no one taught us to be empathetic (that is, to know how to detect the emotions of others). We learn a lot by imitation (see the article ” Here is the best way to influence the behavior of our children ”) And the people around us at the time were not necessarily with us.
All the more reason to change the way we react, and not to repeat the same scenario with our children. Let’s try to understand it more than to criticize it. This is how he will learn to understand himself and to understand others. So while we won’t change years of automatisms with a wave of a magic wand, there is clearly room for improvement! It takes wanting and taking action just by training. Moreover, thee Cool Boost, supports you all year round to move from theory to practice, and apply all these good tips… We are not perfect parents, but if we improve, it is already a lot!
We would like to say thanks to the author of this article for this incredible material
Childish “whims”: learn how to manage them, see them to avoid them!