C is a very emotional and at times can seem to hold a lot of anger. I’ve been doing all I can to help her work through the anger without downplaying the validity of it. While to me it seems like there is no reason for her to be upset, for her it is very real. I’ve changed my ways and explain every time that she has a right to feel angry, but does not have the right to treat me poorly as a result. Working it out for her typically means time in her room alone where she can yell and kick her feet safely. When she’s calm, she comes out and we talk about the actions that lead to the anger and the fall out. This usually involves a lot of tears and is followed up by lots of hugs.
Her latest go to has been to tell me that I don’t love her when she’s in trouble. I constantly reiterate to her that I do love her and it is because I do that there are rules to follow. I know she’s just trying to make sense out of life and it must be terribly hard at 5 years old.
The other day it was a blow-out of epic proportion over a hat. We were letting her pick a new one out, but she kept trying to tell me she needed earmuffs. M and I were not budging as we are in a climate that earmuffs are not overly practical. The tantrum carried out as M checked out, in the car, and at home. M and I had separate errands to run at that point so he decided it was easiest for him to take C with him and I take J. She carried on in his car for a short time, but finally realized it was getting her no where. She stopped, became quiet, and finally told him she was sorry for acting like that. BIG steps for her. It’s all about getting her to realize that the consequences are a direct result of her actions and not because M and I are the meanest parents ever (which we’ve been told on multiple occasions).
This was the 2nd time in recent history where she has taken it upon herself to calm down on her own and apologize without prompting. I like to see this as a positive step for us. I’ve told her that when she gets mad she just needs to take a few moments alone so she can calm down and prevent herself from getting into any further trouble.
I’ve learned not to take the things she says while angry to heart. I know she doesn’t fully comprehend what she is saying. Sometimes she says things that sting. (Especially that I don’t love her or that I love J more.) In the end I keep on reassuring her that even when she’s mad or I’m mad I still love her (equally as much as I love J) and it’s not her I don’t like, it’s the actions she chooses at times.
These cool down times are essential for her. She needs time to decompress. When we’re in the car after daycare or school, she doesn’t like to talk most of the time. I realize she just needs some time to process her day and now change modes into home time. As an adult I need it to and use my moments in between work and picking up kids as my time to leave work at work and focus on home. I’m going to keep encouraging her to find ways to calm herself and release her frustration. I can’t always make things magically better, but I can at least show her the best way to deal with it all.