Over the next few weeks, Rose will be offering some ideas and support in relating and responding to children. In this post Rose gives an example of how recognising a child’s big feeling and responding with empathy can really help in connecting with children’s feelings and deescalate difficult situations.
Driving into the skid
It’s a bit like riding a skid- first you have to steer into it and then you can redirect. This means starting with helping the child to say what is upsetting them and feel it yourself. Then you can steer them out of the upset with explanation.
For example, Megan screams at her mummy “ you gave me the wrong toast I wanted it in corners!” In moments she is screaming at her busy and tired parent who tries hopelessly to explain the toast is the same it’s just a different shape but Megan only screams louder. Her parent feels so frustrated and does not want to give in but they are getting later and later for school.
Her parent’s words seem to make no difference because Megan is not thinking now she is just in a rage feeling “they don’t care about me!” Perhaps because her younger brother seems to be getting all the attention this morning. What she needs first – the steering into the skid is for her parent to connect with the strong emotion- “It’s really hard isn’t it, I did not understand what you wanted, I was too busy with Louie wasn’t I? I forgot how you like your toast” and sit with her while she cries perhaps giving her back a little rub to help her to calm down. Now it will be possible to explain it’s really just the same and really nice and Megan will be more receptive. Perhaps you will even get a chance to eat your breakfast calmly too!
At Brighton Therapy Service we try to offer help to parents as well as working with children. Riding a skid by steering into it may be one idea that can help parents help their children to learn to manage their big emotions .
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This was written by Rose and you can contact her here.