Once upon a time, a father did an amazing thing for his son…..
His son was a huge Iron Man fan. His dad pulled a ton of strings and found a way for his son to meet Robert Downey Jr.
Wow, this is going to be amazing!
thought the dad.
The day came. His son had an absolute meltdown! Why? Robert Downey Jr. was not in his Iron Man costume!
This event (and now internet sensation) shows us the key to our children’s meltdowns and tantrums:
Children imagine an event, based in the future, to be one way.
If it turns out differently……tantrum!
My daughter once had a tantrum when I moved her gloves a metre along the hall floor.
Adult thinking: they are in the way.
Child thinking: in my universe, the gloves are there. Now they are not. The universe is incorrect and plain wrong!
Children will believe their thinking about future events. Quite often the actual event is disappointing and full of frustration.
But hang on a moment…….
Doesn’t this sound a tad familiar?
How many times have you had an adult “tantrum” when the smiles you thought would fill your child, turn into tears of disappointment? Or an event was plain dull, when you thought it was going to be fun? Or when a much hyped movie turns out to be tedious?
As adults, we do exactly the same; except that on most occasions we don’t throw ourselves to the floor screaming.
So when your little one loses it because their straw isn’t pink and/or bendy (can you tell I am speaking from experience ;-/ ??). Remind yourself that their thinking is appearing really really real to them in the moment. In the long term, you can help them understand the role of thinking. In the short term, try not to lose it with thoughts that they should be enjoying themselves….
But hey, at least you haven’t just lost face in front of Robert Downey Jr……