My daughter just learned to braid her hair. Yesterday she was able to do it, to her liking, and was very proud of herself. This morning she woke up, trying to repeat the braid and wasn’t able to do it. In her frustration, she yelled at me, to come help her. I was in the bath, so couldn’t come right away, which frustrated her even more. At that point, nothing I could do was right. It was all my fault that her hair wouldn’t cooperate. She came stomping into the bathroom, seemingly angry with me and when I offered to help she got even angrier.
Sometimes when this happens, I get triggered and get mad at her for being mad at me. I’m just the innocent mom, taking a bath…Right? When this happens I end up making it her fault and miss the whole point of her need. Today, without getting triggered, I was able to ask her why she was so frustrated. Instead of adding to her distress, I could support her and actually step in offering a helping hand. When I’m not triggered, seeing clearly that her frustration is not about me, I can help her see clearly. This gives her support to work through her frustration in a positive way.
Practice: When your child is frustrated and turns it toward you, try pausing before you respond. Remember, even though she may be aiming the frustration toward you, its not about you. See if you can stay centered, opening to her expression instead of controlling it. If you can stay open, she can find her way through with your support.