Let’s not confuse a bad day as a sign of weakness. In fact, on a bad day, the child is fighting the hardest. Let’s give them a break from all our comments and critics.
It is quite natural as parents to become overprotective about your kids when they are not having the best moment of their life. But handling your child’s bad day for them will only make them more cocooned from the worst.
Having a bad day is not a complete no-no. Consider the bad day as a learning experience, for you and your child. Becoming a support rather than a solution can give help the child gain an insight into understanding the negative emotions and inappropriate behaviors. When we work through it as a team with the child, he/she inculcates the ability to become emotionally resilient. Physical touch (e.g. hug) and display of warmth and compassion help younger children calm down readily than attempts of making conversations. Talking the child out of the bad day but allowing him to decide or think about handling the problematic events often comes handy.
Several things can trigger inappropriate behaviours in a child and lead to a different emotional breakout. Sometimes children just need to let off some steam. Other times, there are some external triggers that the child is not used to.
Bad days come and go, but how can we, as professionals, caretakers and parents help the kids transition and move onto their routine?
- Listen: Hearing out the child and letting them have a say about their emotional and behavioural experiences often gets half the job done. Give the child adequate time to elaborate and explain.
- Validate their feelings: Using phrases like “I understand…” or “I know it was difficult…”, assures the child that there is a safety net that they can fall back on and then make a new start. It also shows that you have been listening.
- Avoid accusations or assumptions: During a rough phase, any form of humiliation is the last thing a child would want. That is why great emphasis should be made on listening and validating the child.
- Prompt alternatives: We do not want our children to be dependent for solutions. But we also must acknowledge that coming up with appropriate next steps can be difficult for them, especially when they are having a rough time.
- Looking into the future: Ending the discussion with your child with the hopes that they realise that every dark cloud has a silver lining i.e. there can always be a fresh start.
“Some days are just HARD, but there is hope in tomorrow. “ As we say- this too shall pass.