No, it is not meant to be at all!! The main point is to connect with your child, but not “connect” by yelling, screaming, shouting. Please go back and read the “How to Keep Calm and Carry On” back post as I went back and highlighted in bold all the sections about loving and connecting. This whole blog is about love, and I certainly didn’t mean for anything to come off as uncaring.
Feeling as if your child’s behavior is not the end of the world, ie, equivalent to “please pass the salt” or picking up lint on the floor is simply an inner attitude to help you keep your cool and only part of what needs to happen in a situation of true conflict. I think this also helps underscore that a child is ONE part of a FAMILY. A family is a social organism onto itself, and the behavior of one child, one person, should not be enough to upset the whole balance and get the whole family in a tizzy. That is more what I meant, but you may have to go through some back posts to really read the Keep Calm and Carry On series in context. Guess that is the problem of having a blog over say, a book.
Connection is your number one discipline tool, I have said this over and over and over. See this post: http://theparentingpassageway.com/2010/04/05/renewal-commit-yourself-to-gentle-discipline/
Absolutely,you must connect with your child, and you must de-escalate the situation before they get the point the child is having a temper tantrum. However, whining and laying on the floor saying “I am bored” over and over deserves not only not yelling and shouting but a calm response and an assurance that the family life does not grind to a halt where everyone is tense and shouting because of just simple pushing against forms by a child. Everything deserves a loving and calm response. I am certainly NOT suggesting you go off somewhere else and fold laundry whilst your child is melting down.
What I am suggesting is that many parents have the problem of being calm in order to help their child. Many parents blow their fuse almost immediately the moment a child does something normal, small and age-appropriate. For small things, I think “keep calm and carry on” can help parents find their center. The trick is being able to be connected and loving to your child on the outside, calm on the inside and show it through smiles, warmth, an “I am here” attitude, and even saying, “I hear you!”
Sometimes there is only so much complaining and whining one can really hear but you can say to a six year old and older, “I hear you, and I have listened to you talk about your sadness (boredom, etc) and right now I really am full but I will carry your thoughts with me whilst I wash the dishes. Come and help me” and take them by the hand to help you. Sing. This may sound harsh to some of you with smaller children, but many small children find it oddly comforting that family life is still humming and they don’t have the utter power to make the whole family unbalanced. When a small child can sense that their behavior can de-rail the whole family, that is scary to them. Does that make sense?
I also honestly think that because many parents are only having one child or two children, these children live closer under the parent’s scrutiny than say, children living in a larger household. Not everything needs to be so serious and taken so under scrutiny. Children are not little adults, they deserve attention and love, but there is also something to be said for a bit of benign neglect where children are part of the family, not just something everyone in the family should be orbiting around like a small sun. I like this post about benign neglect: http://christopherushomeschool.typepad.com/blog/2008/01/a-bit-of-benign.html
Older children, your five and six to ten year olds. really need to see this calmness. I am sure we all remember instances of being teenagers and not wanting to talk to our parents because they “would freak out”. If you can be calm(er) in the years preceding these years, hopefully your teenagers will feel they can come to you with things because you will be calm and helpful and listen.
How-to’s of “Connection, Keep Calm and Carry On” in the next post!
Hope that helps to clarify a bit…Many blessings,