This post is written as part of the Round Table Discussions with Natural Parent Network volunteers. In an effort to discuss, support, and promote a kinder, more gentle world, we are taking an in depth view of various books. Our current book is No Drama Discipline by Daniel J. Siegel, M.D. and Tina Payne Bryson, Ph. D, authors of the book The Whole Brain Child. We hope you will join us with an open mind and a desire for change and growth.
There was crying and frustration. For some families, there may be yelling and harsh words. While we could say our children are at the heart of the tantrum, that isn’t always the case.Sometimes our children do melt down. Sometimes the person in full melt down mode is the parent. Either way, the person is reacting to elements of which they hold no control, causing them to be out of control. A person melting down is a person in crisis.
What can you do to help someone in crisis? You can reach out and connect. Connection is the first step to helping someone. It helps calm down the person’s nervous system so that they are in a place to stop reacting and start responding. It can be as simple as looking at the person, hugging them, holding hands, or rubbing their back. A simple connection can immediately begin to release oxytocin into their system and decrease levels of stress hormones. Not only does it help our children when they are in melt-down mode, it can do the same for us as we feel the stress of the situation.
Connection does more than just help calm a person down. It impacts brain development. When we comfort someone, really listen to them, and show them we care, our connection helps to increase communication between the person’s upstairs and downstairs brains. You build a stronger connection to help the person in future situations and you help the person, including yourself, to respond more quickly next time.
Connecting with our children also helps strengthen our relationship with them. When we take the time to connect, we remind them and ourselves of how much we love them and want them to succeed. The next time you are faced with a melt-down, remember that it is a cry for help. Try giving a hug.