I was at the park with my 3 children, a 6-year-old, a 4-year-old and a 20-month-old. It was a beautiful but hot day and we found out that a trampoline was set up in the park near the area where we usually played. The children wanted to go on the trampoline. I said yes and they all got a turn.
But my youngest wanted more than one turn so she started crying. I saw that the others went about their business and I was in the right state of mind so I decided to hold the limit and listen to her feelings about it even though we were in public. It’s not usual for parents to listen to children’s feelings freely here. For a split second I was afraid that all the people in the park might look at us as if we were crazy, but then I realized that I just needed to look into my sweet upset girls’ eyes, and I wouldn’t see anyone else looking at me.
With this thought, I took her a few steps away from the entrance to the trampoline, but close enough for her to still see it. I started saying “I know, Sweety! You wanted more!” She was really kicking and screaming and sweating heavily.
She threw herself on the ground and kept screaming and crying. After about 10 minutes or so, a lady stopped and offered me Holy Water to splash her with. For a second I considered it! And then, after another second, I thought to myself, “Can’t you see she is having a tantrum and that her mother knows what she’s doing?” A few months ago I would have definitely said that out loud. However, this time, I calmly said, “How thoughtful of you! Thank you! She is just upset she can’t go on the trampoline anymore. I’ve got this.”
I refocused on my child and she kept up the screaming and kicking and crying for 5 more minutes. Then she was done. She looked at me and asked to go play on the grass. We went. She happily played all afternoon around the trampoline without asking for another go. It didn’t occur to me to watch people's reaction afterwards, I was too absorbed by the beautiful, relaxed smile in my child’s eyes.
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Irina Nichifiriuc is from Romania and is in the Hand In Hand Instructor Certification Program.
You can connect with her on Facebook.
Irina discusses more about setting limits on her bilingual Romanian-English site.