Behavior is communication. This post is not intended to be about our current racial and political issues, although it certainly could be. When we as human beings aren't heard and validated those feelings can come out in sometimes harmful and violent ways. When our kids aren't heard their behavior can come out as whining, defiance, disobedience etc.
The purpose of this post is to encourage you to dig deep as a parent. When you see undesirable behaviors don't take them at face value, dig a bit deeper about the WHY. Anger and tantrums and rage are most often secondary emotions hiding behind things such as frustration or impossible expectations or hurt or trauma. Begin parenting these challenging behaviors with the end in mind. As your kids grow up what do you want them to remember? What kind of relationship do you want? Instead of treating the symptoms with harsh punishments, try utilizing empathy and listening. Teach how to process emotions, listen and validate.
You can't teach in the heat of the moment however, their brain is flooded when they are sad or scared or angry or frustrated. They aren't listening and learning. Talking about incidents and processing emotions happens when they are calm and reachable. You can walk through the situation later but not in the very moment. In the moment of melt downs your best practice is to be calm, firm and patient. The only thing you have control of is you and your own emotions. Model for them how to navigate tough situations.
Love and show affection rather than withdraw. Utilize connection and love. Watch your relationship change with your child. I am certainly not perfect and still resort to punishments sometimes (which is honestly easier than what I am talking about here), but I'm getting better at this. It takes tons of self control and patience and learning skills. It's not only good for my kids, it's good for me too. It feels good to be in control of me and be able to focus on my love and care for them. It feels so much better to my spirit to focus on love rather than banishing and punishing.
Quite honestly it means I must take care of ME so I have more emotionally to be there for them. This doesn't just happen, it takes much work and self control. In a round about way this is all about self care and awareness. We can't give what we don't have, if we aren't aware of our own emotions and are willing to work on ourselves how can we help our kids with theirs? How can we be patient and be the eye to their storm? We cannot, it's impossible until we are emotionally healthy ourselves.