Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Deep Breath

A few people asked how Aaron is teaching Cam to deal with his anger. Most people have their own ways of calming themselves down, but Aaron has really worked on it. His father had an insane temper, and Aaron also had it. I say had it because he worked VERY hard on getting it under control. It is very rare for him to blow up now - and if he does - he walks away.

I don't have a temper at all, really. I will get fired up, but turn it into a joke. Or tell myself it's the other's person loss or issue. Or I'll work to fix it. I would say that I get truly angry about once a year. To hear Aaron talk about it, when he was younger it was more like daily or weekly. And for him, its a physical feeling that he had a lot of trouble controlling.

So when Cam starts crying because things aren't going his way (crying is his 'anger' response) Aaron gets down on his level and starts with 'We don't cry unless we are hurt, right?*' and then 'Take a deep breath'. And he talks him through it. We never listen to anything that is said through tears. We rarely yell at a tantruming child (No one is perfect. Sometimes it's the 3rd cry-fest in the past hour and I'm having a bad day and I lose it. But hey. It happens. Mama is human.). We repeat, 'I can't understand you when you are crying' and if they keep it up, they are asked to leave the room.

But usually, Aaron gets them to stop before it turns into a full tantrum. He first tries distraction (this works AWESOME with Maggie). If they keep spiraling, he'll say 'WAIT. Take a breath! Tell me what is wrong!' And I swear, that works 90% of the time. I would always let Aaron do his thing and I figured that it worked because Daddy was just there with him.... but last weekend, I was with both kids and Maggie stole Cam's toy. I happened to be sitting right there, and I heard Cam take a deep breath and say - "Maggie I was playing with that!" and Maggie (who happened to be in a giving mood) said "Otay Cam, here you go". And she gave it back.

So, Aaron's obviously doing something right. I'll keep him.

*Sometimes I want to add that it's ok to cry other times too - like if our feelings are hurt, or if we are sad - but then I remember that Cam is 4. And Aaron is talking about this ANGRY cry. We'll get there.


HereWeGoAJen said...

That sounds like a great technique! Way to go, Aaron!

Serenity said...

Thanks for the link on my blog to this - appreciate it.

I wish it worked with Lucky. For whatever reason telling him to take a deep breath and trying to work with him makes him ramp things up more. We used to try the "go in another room" thing but made it worse, though we haven't tried it in a while. I should get back to that.

I did have a moment today when I gave him a time out (I needed one myself) and he sat on the stairs and yelled and kicked on his own and got himself to calm down. And I got my own time out as well to calm down.

Aaron is totally a keeper. I am similar to him in that I have a temper myself, and I have to work to keep it under control. It's tough work, but worth it.