Imagine this : I’m shopping groceries at a supermarket and my toddler throws a huge tantrum because he is not being allowed to touch things. How can I show empathy? Inspite of trying to distract him by giving him a toy or a snack, he continues picking up stuff and throwing it. And every time I try to stop him, he starts crying inconsolably. Everyone at the supermarket is watching us.
Some must be thinking why cant she control her child and others must be sympathising with me. Im pretty sure some must be thinking why have I brought my son along in the first place. This is one of those instances when I tend to lose my cool and find it so difficult to empathise with my child. In this post, I would share why we find it difficult to empathise with our kids sometimes and how should we can take care of that.
E for Empathy
Empathy is the ability to understand what other person is feeling. It is trying to understand something from the other person’s point of view. When my child has a meltdown or throws a tantrum, I can understand what he is going through. I can empathise with him while my own anger or frustration takes a back seat. As parents, we know our child does not know how to vent his emotions, mostly anger. And we understand their emotional state. But why do we still find it difficult to be empathetic?
Why is it so hard to show empathy to your child?
We cannot control our temper
How can you empathise with your child when you cannot control your own temper. In such situations, we shout at our kid or try another way to show our anger.
We are stressed
Parents are caught up in their own routines and that is quite stressful. When my son is crying for silly reasons and I have pile of work to be finished in the kitchen, all I can tell myself is “ I don’t have time for all this”.
We are exhausted
Ask what exhaustion is from a sleep deprived mother, and she will write an essay on it. Exhaustion leads to frustration.
We feel numb
At the times when our kids throw temper tantrums, we feel numb and confused on how to react. All we want is to leave the child alone and run away from the scenario.
How can we increase our empathy?
Managing our own stress and exhaustion
We need to take care of our stress levels and try to create a stress free life. Try to indulge in activities which help ensuring your mental peace. A happy parent will be more empathetic towards his child.
Don’t vent your frustration on your child
You are frustrated, that is understandable, but showing this frustration to you child is not fair. Your child is throwing a tantrum because he does now how know how to regulate his emotions, but you do.
Learn to be patient
Showing patience in such challenging times helps in making the child calmer. Sometimes kids do silly things just to see your reaction.
When you get angry in such situations, just take a moment and take a few deep breaths. Tell yourself, “I need to understand that he is doing all this to get my reaction, if I stay calm, he will feel better”.
Talk it out
Discuss your situation with your mommy friends. Sometimes just sharing about your stress makes you feel better. Don’t expect a solution to your issues, just share what you feel and I am sure you will feel light hearted and ready to be back in the game 🙂
This blog is a part of my series on A-Z of Parenting, Unlearn the Alphabets after becoming parents for Blogchatter AtoZ.