Tantrums

by Kelly Shealer on January 23, 2015

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kelly shealer and sonMy 2-year-old son was standing in his bedroom doorway with little sobs, tears rolling down his cheeks. All because he was so tired and it was bedtime, but he wanted to keep playing with his trains.

My heart was breaking.

He wanted me to take him back downstairs, but I was nursing his half-asleep baby sister, and his older brother was already in bed and ready for me to sing his bedtime songs.

I felt like I was doing everything I was supposed to do during a tantrum. I had stayed calm. I had talked to him about how I knew he was sad, how I knew he didn’t want to stop playing but that it was time for bed. I had tried to hug and comfort him, which he refused, so I had stayed nearby.

I didn’t know what else to try, and seeing him like that was more than I could take at that moment. I felt like I was going to start crying, too, just from seeing him so upset and from me feeling so helpless.

Then I remembered a creative suggestion I’d read recently for handling tantrums. I pulled out the nearest book, one I knew he loved. I opened it and started reading. I didn’t make a big deal out of it. I didn’t tell him to come over and didn’t read directly to him.

His tears stopped almost immediately. Soon after he was sitting beside me, giggling as we all looked at the book together. The trains were forgotten about, and once the book was finished, he climbed into bed with no more protesting.

It was the best strategy I’ve found yet for dealing with tantrums, and it’s worked for us several times now. A similar concept also worked when he had a tantrum in the car, and I turned on music and started singing to myself.

However, what I’ve found is that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to a child’s tantrums. What works in one situation won’t necessarily work in another.

Sometimes, the reading idea will only work as a temporary fix, and right after the book is done, he’s back to crying for what he wants and can’t have. Sometimes, he just needs me to sit beside him while he cries, to offer to hold him in my lap, to comfort him.

This was the case recently when my son wanted to leave the house and go to the park, which was not something I could say yes to at that time. To him, it was so unfair. He didn’t understand why we couldn’t go right then. I tried to empathize with him and acknowledge his feelings, but there was nothing I could say to make it better. We sat on the garage stairs together for several minutes, my arm around him as he cried. Suddenly, he stopped crying, stood up, turned off the garage light, and went back into the house.

There’s a lot of trial and error in finding the right method of handling a tantrum, but I hope my son knows that I’m there for him and trying my best to figure out what he needs in that moment. It’s still a struggle for all of us when tantrums happen, but little by little, we’re finding new ways to help him deal with those big emotions.

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Giving our children presence…at work!

by Guest blogger on January 21, 2015

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Editor’s note: This post was originally published on Oct. 9, 2008, and in the past 7 years since, workplaces are increasingly becoming more family friendly, including allowing employees to bring their babies to work with them.

By Carla Moquin, president of the Parenting in the Workplace Institute

my-tools-614737-mFor many working parents, their desire to be present for their children is at its most visceral when they return to work weeks or months after their baby’s birth and leave their baby in the care of others for dozens of hours each week. Our society — and many others — assumes that this separation is a necessity of our modern world. After all, the workplace is “for business,” and the home is where we “should” care for our children — not to mention that most people assume that babies would cry all the time if their parents actually tried to bring them to work.

But more than 100 baby-friendly organizations around the country — and more than 1,300 babies — are proving these assumptions wrong. And at the same time, they are illustrating how socially sensitive babies are and how much they crave being part of our communal interactions.

By nature, we are highly social beings, even from birth. Babies prefer nothing more than looking at and interacting with other people. They want to be part of a community, to feel involved in our activities and to know that they are loved, safe and secure. When we meet those needs, healthy babies have no reason to cry: They have everything they need to be content.

Baby-friendly companies have seen this dynamic firsthand. Numerous managers and coworkers in these companies have commented that they were amazed at how happy babies at work have been — and that these babies could spend hours contentedly watching other people in the workplace.

Most of these companies explicitly tell parents that their babies’ needs come first while at work, and most parents instinctively respond quickly to their babies simply out of the practical need to avoid disturbing coworkers. This dynamic greatly contributes to the happiness and calm of babies at work.

And since babies of highly-responsive parents cry less, these parents have more available time and focus to get their jobs done in spite of having their baby with them.

An unexpected effect of these programs is the “village parenting” effect that has developed in all of them. In every baby-friendly company, many coworkers end up developing bonds with the babies in their vicinity, and they welcome the opportunity to hold or play with a baby for brief periods. This includes many people who were resistant to the idea of a baby program in the first place.

Babies at work don’t just have the presence and support of their parents. They actually end up with a social network of many caring adults who feel invested in their well-being. Babies seem to bring out our nurturing instincts, which makes sense given the communal nature of our species. For most of human history, we lived in integrated social groups in which many community members shared the efforts and rewards of child rearing and in which work and family were one and the same. Our species is actually hard-wired to respond positively to babies. Research has found that simply seeing a baby’s face — as opposed to the faces of older children or adults — triggers a “sense of reward and good feeling” in just 1/7th of a second.

Baby-friendly companies have learned firsthand that babies — and older children — thrive when we integrate them into our day-to-day world. They illustrate that we as a community benefit when we are present for our children and, perhaps most significantly, when we give our children the chance to be present with us.

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Lying and trust

January 20, 2015
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We catch children hiding the truth from the time they are quite young. It might be a child who has just scribbled on the wall, who says “no” when you ask her if she did it. It might be a child who points to his brother and says, “He did it!” when you ask him […]

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A nod to my husband

January 19, 2015
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Often times it seems — at least to me — that dads don’t get a lot of recognition, especially when their kids are babies. So in honor of my husband’s milestone birthday this month, I thought I’d take a moment to tell the world why he is so invaluable to my children and me: To […]

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The truth about dads and Attachment Parenting

January 16, 2015
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Like many bedsharing parents, I’ve had conversations where I let people assume my daughter sleeps in a crib. While I love our family bed, sometimes I just don’t want to get into the details of why I’m not afraid of suffocating my child and when and where I have sex. So I smile and nod […]

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Parent-child conflict resolution

January 14, 2015
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By Elisa Llamido, a producer, actress and writer and the creator of “The Perfect Pregnancy Workout vol. 3: The Ancient Art of Belly Dance for Labor,” living in Orlando, Florida, USA, with her husband, 19-year-old stepson, 5-year-old son and four frogs My 5-year-old son and I were on our way in to the grocery store […]

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Simple living by living simply

January 12, 2015
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Sometimes I feel that everywhere I turn there is something else that I as a parent or my child “needs.” But how often do we actually need that product? Likely, its almost never. As I navigate this world of parenting, I find myself actively trying to move away from the world of “stuff” and focus […]

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A working mom seeks balance

January 8, 2015
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Editor’s note: This post was originally published on October 7, 2008, but it gives timeless tips to working mothers struggling to feel balanced. Guest post by Annie, PhD in Parenting Mommy guilt. Just about every mother suffers from it, but there is no cure.  It seems no matter how much we give, how hard we […]

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