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Yesterday I wrote a post on Scary Mommy called Ten Moms I Can No Longer Speak To. Please check it out if you haven't already. It seems the post struck a nerve, but there was an unexpected side effect. A lot of people messaged and emailed and commented to me that they really wanted to know what the book was I was talking about - that one that helped me pretty much stop my daughter's tantrums.
Last year I had mentioned to a friend that I was having trouble dealing with my very strong willed preschooler, and she actually ordered POSITIVE TIME OUT BY JANE NELSEN, ED.D. for me. When it arrived a couple days later, I read it cover to cover. My husband did too and we discussed it. After that, I put the book's advice into action and it was seriously LIFE CHANGING. This book works. For me at least. But look, it's going to take some effort and a lot of that effort is going to involve you as a parent freeing up enough time to make meaningful connections with your child. That means learning to be present with your child(ren) and in these crazy chaotic times when we're all attached to our technology, that isn't always easy. But it's worth it. The change in my daughter was dramatic.
Basically, the book taught me that kids have a natural instinct to fit in, to belong. They also want nothing more than to connect with us in a sincere and meaningful way and when they feel like they don't belong or they feel like they aren't "fitting in" in some way, they'll start getting frustrated and/or acting out in various ways. Some of the acting out is because of the frustration and some of it is for attention. Most of us look at kids trying to get attention as a bad thing, a manipulative behavior, but it shouldn't be seen as them "being bad." It's their only way to get their needs met and it's their last ditch, desperate effort to try to make some kind of connection with us, even if the attention we give them is negative. So next time your kid acts up, don't dismiss them or punish them for trying to get attention - GIVE THEM SOME ATTENTION. Don't worry that you're rewarding bad behavior. You're actually preventing it.
Validate your children, meet their needs, connect, give them attention, teach them the skills they need to deal with stress and frustration, and tantrums will pretty much go away - or at least when they happen, everyone will be able to understand and deal with big emotions more easily.
I love this book. It truly changed our lives.
I also have to recommend ALL of Dr. Laura Markham's parenting books in addition. She is equally as amazing.