Did you know that a child´s tantrum is an emotional kidnapping? The amygdala in the brain is an almond-shaped structure that is closely related to stress and anxiety processes. When the amygdala is activated (generally in situations of fear or anger), we enter an emotional hijacking. This means that our emotions take control of what happens. The most important thing is to do NOTHING, as it is essential to remain calm to model calm and peace. So breathe in and take control of your emotions.
Here are some useful recommendations for parents:
- Don’t take it personally
- Remember that the child is not doing anything to you, he is going through a bad time.
- Don’t take it personally. It is a strong feeling of lack of control.
- Get up close and level with him, try to make eye contact. Body language is essential.
- Do not judge the emotion, do not ask for explanations, do not ask for it to calm down.
- Help your child or student to name the emotion and put words to what they are experiencing.
- Become his emotional translator (narrating what the child is going through).
- Show empathy and respect. That creates a wonderful calming effect. When the brain perceives empathy the vagus nerve helps to relax the body.
- Offer various options such as: a hug, drink water, breathe, blow bubbles or simply be close and emotionally available.
- Support co-regulation and emotional self-regulation.
- Wait for the child to get all his emotional overflow (accompanying in a respectful way), our body language is essential.
- Become an emotional translator, describe what is happening, naming the emotion.
- Empathize, connect and validate. Putting yourself in the child’s shoes and using connecting phrases.
- Model calm, with your voice, body language and closeness.
- Remember that tantrums are not controlled, accompanied or managed.