Some kids are good at complaining and telling you what they are sad, angry or scared about, other kids are not so good. Again, some kids are also really good at yelling, screaming, throwing stuff (their body or objects) and crying, whereas others tend to bottle it all up inside. Believe it or not the kids who complain, share their problems openly and express their feelings freely are WAY better off!
When kids share their shady thoughts and feelings they get the fearful, sad and angry energy out of their physical bodies and out of their minds. The only problem with our ‘expressive kids’ is that they often do this inappropriately, like when they yell, scream and swear at us and when they physically lash out and hurt themselves, other people or stuff that isn’t supposed to get wrecked.
This fortnight’s blog is about helping our ‘expressive’ kids turn their ‘tantrums’ into Pit Stops. Let’s use a fictitious character, ‘Lilly’ to get us started…
Lilly is a twelve-year old girl who could be described as having ‘leadership’ qualities and a strong sense of what is ‘fair’. She could also be described as ‘bossy’ and ‘fiery’ if you looked at her qualities from a Shady point of view.
Let’s imagine that Lilly has two younger brothers. One has been diagnosed with Autism and the other, ADHD. Lilly understands that her mum and dad need to give both boys a lot of attention, but she has just started high school and could do with some attention herself.
Mum has been meaning to make time to talk to and listen to Lilly, but she has been working part time in the days and then after school she has had the responsibility of organising dinner, getting three kids to after school activities and helping them with their homework.
High school isn’t easy for Lilly. Her biggest worry is the mean girl in her group of friends who obviously doesn’t like Lilly. She has to sit next to this girl in English and listen to her threats about what will happen to Lilly if she “takes her friends off her.”
Let’s imagine that one afternoon after a challenging day at school Lilly can’t hold it in any longer. As a result she is a complete bitch to her brothers in the car on the way home from the shops. On top of this when her mum tires to calm her down and help, Lilly screams and abuses her mum for ‘never listening’ and ‘always giving the boys attention’.
So how do you turn this teenage tantrum into a Pit Stop where Lilly gets to share her Shady thoughts and feelings in an appropriate way?
Lets imagine we are writing a step-by-step solution for Lilly’s mum…
Other than supporting Lilly to act on what Sparky said to follow up… that’s it!
Pit Stops are very cool because they are a scripted way to help our kids get their Shady thoughts and feelings out of them in an appropriate way and to come up with the best solution to their problems on their own. Pit Stops also stop us interrupting our kids and they also stop us fixing our kids problems for them. In other words turning a tantrum or a cry for help into a Pit Stop is a terrific way to empower our kids because we can’t always be there for them.
PS Just in case you were wondering what happened to Ben after last fortnight’s post – IT WORKED! Ben took a Pit Stop and faced his fear about being a failure as a dad and his daughter’s behaviour immediately changed for the better! Seriously! He told me, “It was kind of spooky!”
PPS Which reminds me, if Lilly was your daughter and you were triggered by her behaviour and had no patience to help her, then taking a Pit Stop yourself (before you tried to help Lilly) would be totally worth it!