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Outbursts of anger often come over a minor detail. A whim, a 'No', something that does not end up going well ... They are totally irrational outbursts of anger, we know, but they are capable of making us lose our nerves. When a child becomes angry and 'locks himself' in his world, he is transformed. It is difficult to make him see reason. Until now. We offer you a magic question to stop a tantrum or a moment of anger in children, a question whose effectiveness also has a scientific basis.
When a child gets angry and loops, it is very difficult to access your emotions, and even less, to his thoughts. What at first glance seems like an insignificant 'nonsense', for him, victim at that moment of a storm of anger, is an offense of incalculable magnitude.
A frustration, a disagreement, a whim, a moment of fatigue ... there are many possible causes of anger in children. From anger to anger there is a small step. And from anger to tantrum, an ephemeral link. And then comes the 'litmus test' for parents. So they try to remember all the theories about tantrums:
- Ignoring the tantrum when it's on a whim
- Hug the child to express support
- Get at his height and try to dialogue with him
- Ask you to take a deep breath
- Offer you the pot of calm
When you're trying to curb a tantrum, it's really frustrating. In most cases, nothing works. But now comes a saving question. A weapon as innocent and effective as this: make the child think with a simple question. The creator of this magic question is Sally Neuberger, a psychologist who was able to verify its effectiveness in a nursery. His technique is as follows:
- When the child is very angry, frustrated, or starts crying in anger, ask the following:
Is it a small problem, a medium problem, or a big problem?
Immediately, the child will look totally surprised and above all, you will feel understanding and support. The reason this simple question is so effective is the following:
Children, when they get angry, frustrated, or rage into a storm of anger, are actually asking for help. You need someone to help you understand why you are feeling this anger and above all to offer you a solution.
Imagine that your child wants to eat a cookie and you say 'No'. Your first reaction will be anger. He wants the cookie. Why can't you give it to him? And even if you insist on giving him a reason ('because you're having dinner soon'), he still won't understand why he can't eat the cookie and then have dinner. So his anger will increase, he will insist, and before the repeated denials, he will start crying.
At that moment, you use the magic question technique:
- Let's see, is it a small problem, a medium problem or a big problem?
Since children tend to 'quantify' everything, it will seem like a question with great meaning. Finally someone who understands you! He will surely tell you that it is a big problem (for him it is). At that time you can offer a comparison:
- So if your favorite doll is lost forever is it a smaller problem?
The most common thing is that losing his favorite doll seems like a bigger problem, so he will say no.
And you explain that maybe his problem is small. At that moment your child (already calmer) will feel understood. Yes, it is a problem ... he knew it was a problem. And the solution? You should offer him an alternative or ask him to think of one himself:
- If you play for a while, time will pass very quickly and you will have dinner in no time. What do you think you can do?
The child, thanks to this question, understand that small problems are easy to fix, medium problems need more effort and serious problems are more difficult to solve. Obviously, this magic question does not work in all cases or with all children, but the ratio of its effectiveness is very high. You know why? Because it offers children all these things ...
It may seem like a too simple, weak system ... a question? If what my son wants is to get his way! Well, in some cases and with certain children, this question may not completely calm you down, but it does you will be offering, subliminally, all this:
- Empathy: your child will understand that you care about his problems. What's more, you are acknowledging that it is a problem. Finally someone who understands you!
- You help him find out what happens: When a child becomes 'confused' in a problem and does not know how to get out of it, he needs someone to help him think about what is happening.
- Find a solution: If, after asking the question, you help your child find a solution or, failing that, an alternative, you will be taking a giant step to solve the problem and end the tantrum or anger.
- Self-sufficiency: Little by little, with this system, you will be providing your child with a fantastic problem-solving system, a very useful tool that will help them to have more skills to adapt to changes.
- Self-confidence: At the same time that you show your child empathy and recognize that his crying responds to a 'problem', even a small one, you will be reaffirming your child. You will feel more confident and your self-esteem will improve.
One tool that all parents can access to help their child manage these emotions are stories, fables, and poetry. In a playful way, your child will understand these concepts, empathize with the characters in the stories and see that there is always a solution to problems and, above all, a positive and educational solution.
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