My husband is going to travel for work for a couple of days. I told my 2yo (will be 3 next week), and she seemed unfazed. Later in the morning she was asking to eat her yogurt on the couch. We never eat on the couch and it has never been an option.
I calmly said, “No, you can eat your yogurt at your table.” She screamed. I replied, “I hear you, you really want to eat your yogurt on the couch.” She picked up her yogurt and starting walking toward the living room. I calmly took the yogurt.
As I returned it to the table my little girl melted to the floor, screaming that she wanted to eat her yogurt on the couch. Then she ran to the couch, buried her head, and her cry changed. It went from a frustrated, angry, tantrum like scream, to a sad, real tears, cry.
I remembered Janet in podcast after podcast explaining that most of the time, what the meltdown/ tantrum seems to be about, is not what the tantrum is about at all.
I went and sat next to her and asked if she’d like to cuddle. She crawled into my arms and let me cradle her like a baby, still crying. I asked if she’d like to tell me what was wrong.
“I’m so sad.”
“Why, my love?”
“Because Daddy won’t be here when we get home.”
My husband came over and asked if she wanted a hug. She angrily said, “NO!”
I sensed her anger toward him as he walked away calmly & confidently (I’ve been teaching him about RIE as well and he does an amazing job). I took that opportunity to explain to her that Daddy didn’t want to travel but he had to for his job. That he wasn’t doing it to hurt us.
After explaining it to her, I asked, “Would you like to go give Daddy a hug now?” Wiping her tears, she said, “Yea.”
They embraced and it was the most wonderful, genuine, moment between all of us. It was the most amazing breakthrough of emotional awareness that I don’t think would have been possible had it not been for my RIE knowledge.
Had I not known RIE, I would’ve possibly been frustrated that she was trying to eat her yogurt on the couch. I might have thought she was disobeying and even punished her for it. I might have not been able to see past the display to see the real truth behind her big emotion to see what was really going on.
Thank you, RIE Parenting. Thank you.
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Yes!! These are the stories that I need to hear. Using RIE with infants and nonverbal toddlers can seem so empty of rewards or feedback that what you are doing is working. Thank you fo sharing. This has definitely inspired me to delve a little deeper into RIE and put more effort into making it my default parenting method.
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These aha moments are what keep me inspired to utilize it on a daily basis. The more we do it, the more frequent these little moments are. It’s a deeper understanding that happens between all of us. It has become so much part of the process that our little one knows what to expect, and therefore the tantrums are shorter and less dramatic. She knows the second I say, “I hear you” she’s not getting whatever it is that she is asking for, but is satisfied in the fact that her desire or emotion has been acknowledged. I strive to show empathy in that sentence too. It can be easy for me to allow it to be somewhat empty after it has been my go to for quite some time now. And when I slip I know instantly because she senses it. I course correct quickly and genuinely empathize with her, then we’re back on track.