and avoiding frustration in the first place
I think what *I* am wanting, and maybe the other mom too, is how to deal with things when we (we, as in the adults) make mistakes.Pam Sorooshian replied:
There is no magic button you can push—no magic words you can say. If you've already gotten yourselves into a situation, then you can be super sympathetic and resolve the situation as quickly as possible. Like, if you suddenly realize that walking around in toys-r-us is overwhelming and now she's having a meltdown, then get yourself really calm and soft and squat down at her level and don't look tense and keep your voice gentle and say soothing things. And—don't ask questions at that time—it adds to the frustration because the poor kid is already on overload and now you're expecting her to think clearly about what it is she wants? Be honest and sympathetic - say, "Oh gosh, this place is kind of overwhelming. Let's go out and get lunch or ice cream or something, for now, and maybe come back when they aren't so busy." If she screams, "NOOOOO I don't want to go," then you can move on, very gently, with, "Oh, okay, then let's go look at the dolls for a while." In other words, you offer - don't ask. Then your response is based on her reaction. Try to develop your own interpersonal intelligence as much as you can - try to think from her point of view, try to offer what you think would help her be more happy.The other mom:
I know that I need to be more observant and I am working my best at that. AND I am getting better, but meltdowns still happen (just much less than they used to). What I really need to know is what I can do when the meltdown is in progress. I asked Lil if she wanted to leave, but of course she didn't and she doesn't always know the words to express what is wrong.Pam Sorooshian:
Just from your post, I felt like you're pressuring her (not meaning to) and that might be some of the source of her frustration. I'm picturing a combination of you not thinking ahead well enough and you expecting her to be able to think ahead too well. Like, you might ask her, "Do you want to go to Toys-R-Us?" and she says, "Yes," and you just take that as a complete answer. But you're the mom, you have to think deeper - why does she want to go, what is SHE thinking it will be like, when is a good time for her to be there, will she want to sit in the cart or run around, is she thinking that "go" means "buy toys" or maybe "play with toys?" You have to think about "her" - the real child and what she can handle.The other Mom:
Maybe I am not asking the wrong questions. I know what I am doing is the wrong way to deal with things. What I struggle with is having a substitute available for when *I* make mistakes. Does that make sense?Pam Sorooshian:
Yes. So—from now on, before you go somewhere, have some ideas in mind. BEFORE you even bring it up to her, think, "Okay, thinking about going to Toys-R-Us—that means a series of possible activities—(1) getting ready and maybe interrupting ongoing activities (2) car ride (3) time in the store (4) needing to leave the store (5) time spent in line (6) car ride afterward. You have to consider each of those —play out a couple of scenarios in your head for each so you have some options in mind before you even bring it up to her.