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But I wanted chocolate ice cream

I remember my parenting coach telling me that it wasn't my job to make my child happy and I felt really shocked by that.

What's the point in having kids if we don't want them to have a happy life?

If you want to raise a well-rounded, emotionally well-balanced child then you’ll want to read on.

Actually as a mother of small children there were many times I didn't feel happy at all, but that was mostly when I found myself nagging and often shouting because I didn't have the right parenting tools at the time.

So happiness - why shouldn't we want our kids to be really happy, as much as we possibly can?

Of course we want them to be happy but we also need our kids to be able to cope with disappointment and be able to bounce back.

So that’s why I had the courage to stick to my guns when my three year old changed her mind about the ice cream.

So here is the scene.

‘What kind of ice cream would you like darling?’

‘Mint’

‘Are you positive you don't want chocolate? I remember you didn’t like mint when you tried it before’

‘I like it now. I want mint’

‘So I need you to ask me that politely’ (Never miss an opportunity to reinforce good manners)

‘Please can I have mint ice cream?’

‘Ok, if you are sure’

I think you know what is coming…..

Alice took one bite and howled at me

‘I don’t like this, I want chocolate.  Please get me chocolate instead mummy, I’m not going to eat this’  and she dropped it on the ground.

The big fat tears started plopping down her face and I was in a real bind.

Should I make this into a learning opportunity or should I just make her happy, she’s only little…

Everyone makes their own choices so I’m not here to judge if you’d have bought a chocolate one instead.

What I do encourage parents to do is to trust their intuition and not be swayed by their child’s emotional response.

So I used all the tools of empathy that I teach in The Tantrum Taming Toolkit programme (she wasn’t having a full out tantrum, but it could have easily have turned into one…’).

I got down to her level and I was empathetic, I validated her very real sense of disappointment and injustice.

I stood close to her and I waited.

When she calmed down, we walked home and I praised her for calming down and being brave. I was still wondering if I’d been too harsh about it.

But she coped and I think it was a helpful lesson that it’s good to listen to advice but if we choose not to (which is absolutely fine) then we need to experience the consequences.

What I see in my 4 kids now they are teenagers and beyond, is that they can accept the consequences of the decisions they make and not blame us. They might try to blame us but soon realise that that doesn't wash!

I've learnt how important it is not to try to rescue them or 'make it better'.

We can still be kind, and empathetic and give them a lovely life.

But they need to know that life is about lots of things, not just being happy.

Here are 10 reasons why it isn’t our job to make our kids happy but it is our job to help them thrive in life…

  1. Life is always going to be full of disappointments and we won’t be there to help ‘make it better’, so the quicker they learn to cope, the better.
  2. For example, if we always let them win the game, we won’t help them to cope with losing.
  3. Life will always be about light and dark, sunshine and rain. Experiencing the contrasts is what helps to build our character.
  4. When we buy them something that makes them happy like a new toy or new clothes it’s good to explain that the thrill and feeling of happiness is short-lived.
  5. Have them appreciate that happiness can come from really small things in life like collecting sticks and making a ‘nest’ from them.
  6. Think about the fact that a child needs to be emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually well-balanced and make your decisions based on that. So for example, they might desperately want a play-date but you know they are tired and need some downtime. That’s when you might say ‘no’ and be disliked for it.
  7. Many decisions make us unpopular with our kids – I chose not to buy coco pops for my kids because they have a very high sugar content. I was told ‘You are the worst mummy in the world’ but I knew that the sugar rush from coco pops wasn’t good for them and I was willing to risk being unpopular.
  8. It’s great to let kids make mistakes and figure things out for themselves even if we know it might result in tears or grumpiness.
  9. Children experience a vast range of emotions – and often swing from one to another in a very short space of time – they need to know that all emotions are ok so if they are feeling down, we don’t have to turn somersaults to make them happy again.
  10. It’s also good for kids to know that making someone else happy, will make them happy. So encouraging them to share a toy with a friend, even when you don’t feel like it, can be a great experience.

Very often we give into kids because we are so afraid they are going to kick off if we don’t. That’s where to tools in The Tantrum Taming Toolkit are so incredibly useful. Here’s a quote from Jillian Kee who did the programme earlier this year.

"I would recommend the Tantrum Taming Toolkit without hesitation. It has really helped improve our understanding of our toddler and his behaviour. Our quality of life has improved enormously as a family. I no longer feel anxious about going out with my son, which is truly life changing. Now it sometimes breaks my heart to see how some parents respond to their child's behaviour, knowing that like me, they probably just don't know what else to do. I have to stop myself from going up to them and telling them to do your course or follow you on instagram"

If you aren’t on the waitlist for the next release, I highly recommend you put your name down. The Tantrum Taming Toolkit waitlist

Also grab my free booklet How to get your kids to listen to you’.

Sending you my best

Camilla

 

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