In this podcast episode, parenting coach, Devon Kuntzman, gives parents very practical tips and a fresh perspective to help keep us calm when our kids are having tantrums and meltdowns – and they probably aren't what you think they are!
Patience is one of the biggest things we can struggle with as parents. We want to be the parents we are in our hearts – loving, patient, and supportive. But when our children are on an emotional roller coaster, we can begin to parent out of fear instead of from our intuition and with love and then feel guilty and like a failure later on. In this episode, a parenting coach gives us practical tips to help keep us calm during meltdowns, tantrums and emotionally stressful times with our kids.
Devon Kuntzman, RYT, B.A. child development, is a parenting coach and nanny for high-profile families. Devon is on a mission to transform the myth that toddlers are terrible. Devon teaches that it’s possible to embrace this sensitive developmental period by uncovering the magic of toddlers while overcoming everyday challenges and keeping your sanity. She coaches frustrated, over-stressed and exhausted parents who are ready to free themselves from limiting beliefs, tap into their inner courage and rediscover the joy of parenting. Devon empowers parents to transform their frustration, fear and self-doubt into confidence in their parenting.
Dedicating her life to working with children and families, she has worked with hundreds of parents and children across three continents over the last 15 years. Devon is a Certified Gentle Sleep Coach, a graduate of the Wonder Weeks Academy Infant Mental Health and Development Program, a registered yoga teacher and the creator of Transforming Toddlerhood.
Links In This Episode
- Transforming Toddlerhood
- Hire Devon as your Parenting Coach!
- See all of the episodes from The Merry Messy Moms Show here
- Join in the fun & conversation in The Merry Messy Moms Show Facebook group
How to Have Patience with Our Kids
The number one question Devon gets from her parenting coaching clients is about having patience and how do they have it with their kids.
She says is comes through having grace and being kind to yourself first and making sure we're taking care of ourselves.
The Power of Validating Your Own Feelings First
She suggests to them that when you start to feel really upset with your child, to stop, pause and breathe. Then validate your own feelings.
She likes to use the analogy of traveling. You have your suitcase and it's stuffed full and you're trying to zip the zipper but inevitably something will stop and pop out of the side.
The biggest step is to accept what is – to accept that my child has done something wrong and I'm about to lose my shizz! I'm feeling triggered, I'm feeling frustrated, I'm feeling like why is this happening again. The key is to give yourself the GRACE to feel what you feel in that moment, and it's okay. “I feel so frustrated right now that I could scream! And…it's okay.”
Stuffing Down Our Own Emotions Hurts Us Both
This is so much healthier than stuffing down those uncomfortable, negative feelings. Feel the feelings. Otherwise they will come out somehow someway and it won't be pretty when they do!
How can we be calm with our children when we are fighting with ourselves? We need to let the emotion pass and not stuff it done. And then we are able to teach our toddlers to do the same thing! They will also learn this emotional intelligence.
Then we can be the caregivers we are in our HEARTS.
It's Like a Meditation
Taking that time when our emotions are arising to pause, breathe and feeling our feelings is like a meditation. Meditation isn't just something you do when everything is quiet and calm. You can do it anytime you need it during the day. Our breath is our most powerful resource for calming our fearful thoughts and emotions.
The key to meditation is not to have no thoughts because they will come. But to be the observer of your own thoughts and when we having these thoughts coming in, to realize it's okay. To wave hello, and watch them pass through. As emotions arise, we do the same thing. We are so conditioned to think that thinking bad things and feeling bad things makes us bad people. But it doesn't! It makes us human. So to allow ourselves to feel without judgement is a very, very powerful thing.
So What Do During Public Meltdowns?
She says to pretend to have a shield between you and your child when a meltdown is happening. To know that my child's meltdown is not a direct reflection of me. To not let ourselves identify with the behavior.
Then we go with that grace to accept the present moment. To say it is what it is and to try your best to remove yourselves from the public place where you both can feel free to have an emotional release.
Just know that both of you are just doing your best and to validate both of your emotions as that will help you both to process the emotions and release them in a healthy way.
And putting up that shield helps so that as parents we don't jump on the same emotional roller coaster our kids are on. To be able to take a step back, help them to process their emotions and we can be the stable, calming presence for them while they work themselves out.
We can cause ourselves a lot of agony in life when we create false deadlines, especially with our kids. That we have to finish shopping here, or we can't leave. When in reality, most if not all of the time you can leave. Your child doesn't have to finish their class, you can leave in the middle of church, you can leave in the middle of shopping, you can be late to an event. The world will not end. It will be okay!
And our children feel our stress or pressure to meet these deadlines and it will only agitate them more, especially as the deadline approaches. Always keep in mind that the most important thing for our kids is their mental and spiritual well being, not some class, or event, or being on time. With kids, our deadlines need to be more flexible, which releases the pressure and actually makes it easier to get to places on time. Kids are very intuitive and can pick up on our stressed vibes and pressure easily.
Devon likes to check in with herself daily to ask – “Do I have any false deadlines today? What are my priorities for the day and do I have any false deadlines for them?
How Devon Helps Parents as a Coach
She closely works with her clients to help them implement all of this information because even though it's helpful, it doesn't mean much until we implement it. She helps them to create their values, priorities, and realistic expectations and deadlines and to customize all of this for their unique families.
Focus More on Process and Less on Outcomes
Kids are masters of enjoying the present moment and enjoying the journey. We can get carried away as adults with focusing on results so much so, that we lose the joy of the journey along the way. We already know that this time with them as kids is so short and fleeting, so learning to enjoy the process will really help us to relax and connect with them more.
Devon calls it “shiny object syndrome.” We see how some other parent had success with their kid doing this, this and this and so we go and copy that. Or some book or blog or podcast says to do it this way. But that process may not work at all for your child's personality and unique talents and gifts! That's where a parenting coach can help.
Our intuitions as mothers is so strong and it's a big help to us when we trust our intuition when it comes to our kids and not try to copy each other. Tune into what your heart is telling you and follow that, no matter what everyone else is doing.