* This article is a follow up to an earlier post Who Did You Have To Be To Get Love, Attention and Connectivity From Your Parents? I suggest reading that article first for context. Find it Here.
A child has a temper tantrum and mom/dad caregiver reacts by saying, ” Stop it. Bad boy/girl. Wait till your father gets home. Go to your room. No screen time for you. This is not acceptable. I am going to tell Santa Claus and you aren’t going to get any presents.” The parent might even hit the child.
What the child is doing, by means of a temper tantrum, is expressing his or her emotions. Attempting to express what is going on inside of them. The child might be frustrated, hurt, angry, confused, tired, hungry, afraid, reeling about something that happened at school, and the tantrum is the child’s way of getting that emotion out. Expressing via a tantrum because they have no other ways or tools for expression.
The parent or caregiver punishes the child for their self expression and makes both the behavior and child ‘bad.’
When this scenario plays out once, twice, three times, the child comes to the conclusion that it is not good or safe to express myself because mom/dad, caregiver get mad, send me away, punish me, withdraw their love, attention and connection.
And the child begins to learn through observation, words and action, what IS acceptable to mom/dad and conforms. In the process disconnecting themself from true self.
We’ve all experienced this situation to one degree or another.
Those childhood experiences good or bad shape who we become as adults.
Are you still living inauthentically, conforming to others ideals of what is acceptable in order to belong, fit it, receive praise, love, attention and connection?
In my therapy practice almost every issue that a person comes to me for help and resolution is the result of a childhood trauma.
Trauma is the unexpressed emotion or wound created by an event, not the event itself. A time when the child didn’t receive the love, attention and connection they needed and wanted from mom/dad. A time when they were punished for expressing themself, and they disconnect from true self or authentic self. My role is to guide and hold space for them now as an adult, to face those memories, heal the wounds and reconnect to true self though inner exploration of beliefs, patterns, behaviors, memories and concepts of reality. Connecting with the wounded parts of self and bringing them in wholeness.
If holding onto childhood trauma is the cause of many adult problems and distress, one may ask,
“What is a parent to do when faced with a child having a temper tantrum or is acting out in any number of ways?”
In transparency I am not a child therapist or family counsellor. I work with people 18+ years old who are experiencing difficulties in life because they are still running consciously and subconsciously beliefs, behaviours, patterns, concepts of reality established most often in childhood.
And as a therapist, I can offer suggestions as a starting point.
All children regardless of ethnicity, culture, religion, socio economic status NEED and WANT Love, Attention and Connection.
If the child is having a tantrum or acting out in some way, hitting, biting, screaming, pulling hair, being rude, isolating etc … may your first thought be, this child needs love, attention and connection. And give it to them. Hug them, hold them, sit down on the sofa with the child. Give them your full and undivided attention in the moment. And give them love. Let the child know that you love and care for them. That they cannot lose your love.
Know that the temper tantrum is the child’s way of expressing some pain held within. Use words appropriate to the age of the child and ask what is going on? What hurts? What are you angry about? What has you frustrated? What is the pain inside of you that you want me to know about and you want out of your body?
Once information is gathered, and the child has your love, attention and connection, at that point or later on depending on the circumstance, begin to teach the child healthy ways of self expression. It might be shouting and yelling but not in the middle of the shopping mall or raging against siblings. Shout and yell outside in the yard, into a pillow; into the wind.
Scribbling, drawing, finger painting the anger, frustration, hurt out and onto a piece of paper often works for children. Talk to the child about the drawing. The act of drawing on paper is a means of release and expression. You can take it a step further by encouraging the child to rip up the drawing and toss it into the trash for a bigger release. The process may need to be done several times before the energy is gone.
Allow the child to cry. Let crying be appropriate. It’s a great way to expel emotion and excess energy.
Another healthy way of expressing emotion is going for a walk and stomping out the anger into the earth. Lying down on the grass, and sending the energy into the ground. Most children like these type of release activities and being in nature, lying on the earth is both grounding and calming.
Being active, playing a sport, running, jumping, swimming is a good way to let go of pent up inner emotion and energy.
As a parent or caregiver, separate the child’s need for love, attention and connection from the behaviour.
It’s two different subjects.
Often through this process of helping the child, a parent or caregiver realizes that they are acting towards the child as their parent acted towards them. Or that they are responding to the child out of their own traumas.
This realization is the first step towards inner healing for the adult which will trickle down and also benefit the child.
Consider these suggestions and seek out a good child therapist for additional assistance.
If you are an adult who knows or suspects that you are disconnected from true self because of who you had to become to get love, attention and connection from mom/dad, teacher, grandmother/grandfather, auntie/uncle, friends, spouse/partner, and you are ready to heal that wound, reconnect with true self, I can help you.
Learn more about my private session offerings here: https://whispersfromthesoul.com/store-2/life-changing-personal-sessions
If you have additional questions email me: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hi I’m Esther Bartkiw, holistic core belief therapist, intuitive and energy reader; entangled with LIGHT. I blend core belief therapy with psychological tips, tools and techniques, spiritual concepts and practices to facilitate for my clients deep inner change which positively transforms their day to day reality.