WHY KIDS SHOULD PUSH BOUNDARIES
While most parents are reluctant to let their children try risky play, it is indeed essential for children to experience activities such as climbing trees, practicing skateboard stunts, and racing bikes fast. This kind of play is actually healthy on a developmental level. The benefits range from reducing obesity to putting down video games to increasing children’ resilience in the face of obstacles. However, in our 21st century world, anxious parents focus on preventing minor injuries that were once assumed to be part of the childhood. So, the question is to find ways to ally both worlds so that children can get a thrill while staying safe.
Here are a few reflections:
1. It is natural for children to experience tumultuous play when running, jumping, balancing, and even falling safely. Through trial and error, children learn physical skills and how to face challenging events without fear. For example, climbing trees reduce the fear of heights. When children have constantly an adult who tell them what to do or when to stop, then children will not test their own limits nor develop their self-confidence when making decisions.
2. The key is to encourage healthy risks. By giving more autonomy to children, they will adjust gradually. The idea is to expose children to small risks so they can gain experience safely. When the lesson is small, it is good to let them learn it.
3. Differentiating risks and hazards. Risks are situations children can evaluate reasonably before making their own decisions while hazards are dangers a child cannot be expected to be aware of or handle. Parents’ role is to point out these differences to their children.
4. Leave no for big stuff. When parents interfere constantly, children can start second-guessing themselves, get distracted, or tune parents out completely. In deciding to step in, weigh the possible consequences of your child’s actions so that when you say no, it must be really dangerous.
Finding the right balance between allowing healthy risks and protecting your child is not an easy task. However, it is essential if we want to promote healthy development for our children.
WHY YOUR TODDLER TANTRUMS ARE BENEFICIAL
For almost any parent toddler tantrums are challenging as most of us feel overwhelmed and helpless. We also wonder how to handle our child’s kicking and screaming. However, toddler tantrums are actually an essential component of her emotional development and need to be experienced by your child when growing up.
Here are a few reasons why tantrums are indeed a good thing:
1. Crying helps release stress. When your toddler is angry, frustrated, or whining, her tears will improve her emotional well-being if a loved one is close to support her. Once the storm has passed, your child will likely be in a better mood. It is important to not interrupt the process of tantrum as it allows the child to get to the end of her feelings.
2. Setting clear boundaries is necessary. While saying no to your child may provoke the tantrum, it is indeed a good opportunity to set clear boundaries about your expectations regarding her behavior. Standing firm with your limits while offering love, empathy, and emotional support help your child understand what is acceptable and what is not.
3. Tantrums reflect how your child is feeling. When you say no, your toddler tantrum is an expression of how she feels about it. On a deeper level, your child is looking for love and connection. This is why empathizing with her emotions is so essential.
4. It may help your child sleep better. When you try to avoid tantrums, then your child does not process her emotions. As a result, just like adults, her unresolved emotions bubble up at night. Allowing your child to get to the end of her tantrum improves her overall well-being and may help her sleep better.
5. Tantrums may be healing for parents as well. Your child tantrum may trigger unconscious memories of how you were treated as a child. If no one listened to your outbursts with empathy, then your child’s upsets may kick up big feelings in you. So, dealing with your child tantrums may be an opportunity to deal with your own emotional challenges from your past.
Since it is truly difficult to handle a child tantrum, it is important to focus on self-care: talking to a friend, watching a movie, hiking, or listening to music are beneficial activities. Staying calm while listening empathetically to your child’s feelings of upset without trying to stop or fix them will help your child release them.
As a parent and a therapist, I want to offer some tips on how to raise happy and healthy kids. Please feel free to comment on my posts.