Calming Our Reactivity to Children’s Irritating, Demanding Behaviors


A mother or father writes that she’s overwhelmed by her two girls continuously demanding her attention, following her round their house and calling “Mommy! Mommy!” even when they’re in the identical room. “It’s driving me mad,” she writes. “It’s like a dripping tap. It is getting to the point where I just want to scream.” This mother notices that the girls don’t have this dynamic with their father. In truth, even when he’s sitting beside them and he or she is in one other room, they nonetheless name to her. Understandably, she feels drained and wonders if Janet can inform her what she’s doing unsuitable.

Transcript of “Calming Our Reactivity to Children’s Irritating, Demanding Behaviors”

Hi, that is Janet Lansbury. Welcome to Unruffled. Today, I’ve a query that I acquired on Facebook. This mom is having problem as a result of her daughters preserve continuously calling, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy, Mommy,” and it’s driving this mother or father up the wall. And I need to flush this matter out a bit of to speak about our reactivity as dad and mom and the way we are able to ease that.

So behaviors like this one, kids repeatedly calling our identify and in addition whining and different repetitive behaviors that kids typically will do… How can we reply in a method that doesn’t really amplify the behaviors and trigger them to persist? That’s what I would really like to discover a bit of on this podcast.

Okay. So right here’s the query I acquired on Facebook:

My 4 and a half and 2.9 yr previous girls continuously name, “Mommy.” If I depart the room, they name after me to ask the place I’m, even following me. If they ask a query, the phrase “Mommy” may very well be stated three or 4 instances earlier than the query. They name me from the place they’re as an alternative of coming to me. It’s fixed all day. The solely time they received’t, is that if I give them an iPad to have a look at one thing or the TV.

It’s driving me mad, it’s like a dripping faucet. It is getting to the purpose the place I simply need to scream. It’s overwhelming me and I’m getting indignant. I don’t know what to do. When their dad is house, they nonetheless name me even when he’s beside them and I’m in one other room. At the tip of the day, I’m so drained. What am I doing unsuitable or not doing proper?

So to start with, I need to reply to the very final thing she says right here, “What am I doing wrong or not doing right?” I’d love to encourage this mother or father or any mother or father that this isn’t about unsuitable or proper, it’s a couple of sample that we could also be a bit of caught in or a baby is caught in that isn’t serving us, that’s making our lives tougher. But it’s not the self judgment factor of what am I doing unsuitable? What am I doing proper?

One of a very powerful qualities that we are able to have as dad and mom is self-compassion, particularly in a time like we’re in proper now with so many aggravating conditions occurring in our world. And additionally if we wish to make adjustments in a number of the dynamics between us and our youngsters. Numerous instances this implies altering generational cycles. It is big work. And we’d like to love ourselves and have endurance with ourselves. There’s no such factor as an ideal mother or father or something shut to an ideal mother or father, I really imagine that. And attachment consultants will inform you that even essentially the most attuned mother or father will mis-respond to a baby one thing like 50% of the time.

So let’s get life like right here and provides ourselves a break, as a result of after we are judging ourselves like this mother or father could also be doing, it’s really straight concerned in the issue she’s having right here. It’s a part of why she’s getting indignant and desires to scream and that is driving her mad. She’s feeling like she’s doing one thing unsuitable. She’s judging herself that she’s not a great mother or father for the best way that she’s feeling.

Whining is a really disagreeable sound. Studies present that kids of each nationality and each language whine. It’s a worldwide conduct. And it’s typical for youngsters the ages of this mother or father’s to get caught repeating and repeating and whining and demanding in that method. So these are disagreeable behaviors that kids have.

A second in the past, I talked about attunement. So what’s occurring with this mother or father is she is used to being an attuned mother or father. She could also be a delicate person and he or she’s type of over-attuned to this conduct that her kids started and now has turn out to be type of a factor between them. When we’re a bit of over-attuned, it implies that we’re taking all the things in. We’re feeling accountable to reply to it. We’re feeling it impacting us. It’s chopping into us. Every time they name Mommy, I want to react. I’ve received to do one thing. And there’s no method that’s not going to get us exhausted and pissed off — get us indignant — as a result of what kids are doing proper there, it’s virtually like they’re transferring with us as one being. They’re reacting off of us, reacting off of them, reacting off of us. They’re feeling this irritation and it’s feeding their irritation. So it will probably turn out to be a cycle.

One factor that helps us rather a lot as dad and mom is to learn the way to tune in and in addition how to have buffers. And that’s not the identical as I’m ignoring you and also you don’t exist for me, if you do that and I’m turning away and I’m pretending it’s not occurring. It’s only a softening, as if we’ve received padding round us. And after we hear this Mommy, as an alternative of it penetrating into our being, it will get slowed down within the padding, it softly lands there. And so we are able to maintain our personal.

We’re not feeling battered. We’re not feeling shaken and rattled by all the things. We’re listening to it. It’s going into the padding and we’re going to reply, whereas staying centered in ourselves, not being prey to no matter our baby does that appears needy, or wanting us or demanding of us.

And the fascinating factor, too, is that kids really are on a slower frequency than us. So whereas it might appear to be their name to mommy wants a direct response, they’re really not prepared to absorb a direct response. So it’s really extra applicable for us to gradual our responses down by imagining this padding or this area between us.

It’s widespread for us as dad and mom to really feel pressing about all the things that occurs with kids. They may act as if all the things’s an emergency however there are very, only a few precise emergencies with kids. It’s one thing that we’ve got to work on and apply in order that we’re not reactive in a method that’s going to put on us out and have an effect on our temper and once more, draw kids into the cycle.

I’ve had dad and mom on-line or dad and mom say to me that they hate this phrase “mommy” as a result of they’re so sick of listening to their baby say it time and again and once more. And that’s definitely comprehensible. But the rationale that we’re aggravated by it’s the duty we really feel round it, that we’ve received to do one thing to repair this and that and any individual is asking and I’ve received to soar.

We can shift this after we maintain our personal. There’s a time that I’ve beloved having the ability to apply this concept, and it’s turn out to be very clear to me the significance of it and that I can do it, despite the fact that I’m a really delicate, reactive person, I’ve this chance that we’ve got as academics of RIE parent-infant lessons and parent-toddler lessons. During the category, which is generally about statement… And one of many principal causes for statement is to have the option to acknowledge our youngsters as separate beings. We’re in a position to see that our baby is separate from us as a complete person. But they’re not a mature person who is aware of not to do irritating issues and cease after they’re bothering us. They actually can’t a number of the time.

So we do statement of the youngsters, which is fascinating as a result of they’re all the time doing fascinating issues on their very own with the supplies which can be there and with one another, participating in conflicts, participating in exploration, studying how to play collectively, being artistic with supplies. It’s a blast. And we advocate this at house and it’s what all my podcasts round play are about: how to get pleasure from your baby on this method.

Then when kids are possibly 10 or 11 or 12-months-old within the RIE lessons, we’ve got snack time. And snack time — the custom that Magda Gerber started is that the youngsters sit at a child-sized low desk. We sit on the ground or on a pillow on the ground. There might be up to eight kids sitting round this desk that’s kidney formed. We serve bananas and we hand the items to the youngsters.

I’ve movies on my YouTube channel and on my web site the place we show this. And there are all these our bodies there and only one grownup, they usually’re sitting as a result of they need to. And they know that that’s the routine and the ritual that we wipe their arms first with a moist towel, we do each individually, paying a second of attention to every baby.

Then we invite them to assist peel the banana, for sure kids who appear . And after all that takes some time for them to get the cling of, however they really rapidly do. And then they’re peeling the banana after which we’re giving them every a bit. And there’s a second of attention given to every baby. We aren’t simply handing issues off with out participating with that baby.

Then we give them glasses with water in them. So all types of issues are occurring.

Maybe a baby pushes one other baby or any individual needs increasingly and extra over right here and I’m on the different facet of the desk or any individual knocks their glass over, however really it’s shocking how calm and centered these experiences are contemplating these are 11-month-olds up to three-year-olds. And even essentially the most energetic baby is in a position to sit for the time that they’re eating, be there, centered.

So more often than not it’s surprisingly easy, however there are occasions when it’s not, there’s rather a lot occurring. And what we’ve got to do because the facilitator on this class is maintain our personal, prioritize, this person wants me right here.  But we maintain our personal tempo, we maintain our middle and we don’t get frazzled. It’s an fascinating feeling.

What I really feel like is there’s one thing that I’m unplugging inside me — some nerves that I’m unplugging in order that I’m not going to get impacted by all the things that goes on. I’m not ignoring something, I’m going to reply, however it will not be straight away or my response is likely to be, “Oh, I see you wanting this and I’ll be with you in one minute. Right now I’m over here.”

But I’m not going to let the youngsters escalate me. I’m not going to be reactive to their tempo and their calls for, their power. I’ve to middle in myself.

So I’ve discovered how to do it. I’ve gotten a number of apply this manner and it’s wonderful. It’s such a confidence-building expertise that you simply can do that. And, after all, it’s actually important if we’ve got one baby, or multiple baby, particularly, that we’re not feeling pulled and impacted by each factor they are saying or do or all the things that goes on, all the things they need proper now. Children need all the things proper now. They need all the things proper now, however they don’t want it proper now.

Another side of that is our life like expectations of our youngsters’s conduct, as a result of that impacts our emotions, that are going to information us to react a sure method. So if I perceive that my kids are going to do that factor that they do, which is name me 50,000 instances, investigate cross-check me and make me reply them instantly and be demanding on this method which once more, with out that means to… I’ve type of gotten into this with them as one body. And now I’m going to separate myself out, be my very own separate person alone, very completely different tempo and I’m going to reply from that place. So discovering this in your self. Whether it appears like I’m unplugging, I’m loosening up the nerves inside, I’ve received padding round me, slowing down.

The method that may look with this mother or father… She says, to start with, “If I leave the room, they call after me to ask where I am.”

So I don’t have to reply that straight away. I’m going into the opposite room. They’re asking me once more. Now they’re coming nearer. I’m not going to be yelling out to them, feeling like I’ve received to report to them, like I’ve received to reply straight away.

Slowing myself down, I hear them say it a few instances possibly and I say, “Oh, I’m over here actually.”

Not, “I’m here!” Not that reactive place, however my very own middle, taking up my management position that I do know that my kids need me to have of their coronary heart of hearts, letting a number of the calls for and “Mommys” simply circulate by.

So they determine to comply with me. I’m on this different room. They’re asking me a query the place they’re saying “Mommy” a complete bunch of instances earlier than they ask the query, which is tremendous annoying however I’m anticipating it. I do know that is their factor. I’m not going to dig into every Mommy that they are saying and check out to make it cease. I’m going to let it go.

So I’m going to wait. They’re saying, “Mommy, Mommy, Mommy,” and now I’m doing this different factor, not in a position to focus very properly at first as a result of it is a new dynamic for me to be main, and it’s going to take a short time for me to get the apply I want to imagine on this. And it’s going to take some time for my kids to discover one thing completely different that may launch them from being caught up with me on this sample as a result of they see that I’m okay, and that this conduct they’ve doesn’t have energy with me and I’m not escalating in my frustration and it’ll lose curiosity for them.

So I’m letting these Mommys go. Here comes a query… I’m going to give it a second to assume what the reply is after which I’ll reply the query. “Oh, you’re asking me about the TV, that answer’s going to be no. Sorry, my love.”

So I’ve my very own tempo that that is stemming from, not theirs.

And then they will get mad at me all they need to and ask me the identical factor a complete bunch of instances and I’m going to preserve doing what I’m doing and simply nod and be empathetic. “It’s hard when you hear a no to that, it really is.” But it’s not my duty to repair them or to get caught up in them. In truth, I need to do all the things I can to not get caught up.

So she says, “They call me from where they are instead of coming to me.”

Well, allow them to name from the place they’re. It’s okay. It’s secure for them to try this. If we don’t reply in a method that makes that work for them, then they’ll come over. So essentially the most I’d do is say one thing like, “If you need me, I’m here.” And not get sucked into attempting to please them wherever they’re.

So this mother or father is doing this excellent attunement. But it’s over-attunement. It’s once more, coming from this constructive, healthy, fantastic mother or father place however it’s not serving to this mother or father to the extent that she’s taking it. We have to discover this different half too the place we might be separate and complete in ourselves and perceive that they’re very younger with low self regulation and a low threshold for emotional expression. They’re going to share each little factor with us. It’s not an emergency.

So she says it’s fixed all day and I don’t assume will probably be fixed all day if this mother or father needs to work on buffering herself, being unplugged, slowing down. She says, “The only time they won’t is if I give them an iPad to look at something or the TV.” That is an comprehensible assist for this mother or father. I’ve simply received to shut this down as a result of I can’t take it anymore. But what I need to assist this mother or father and different dad and mom work on is that you simply’re not going to let your self get to that time, since you’re perceiving your position a complete completely different method. You’re not going to be a sufferer to your kids. Their repetitive Mommys and whining just isn’t yours to repair. Don’t let it in.

She says, “It’s like a dripping tap.” Yes, I get that.

“It’s getting to the point where I just want to scream.”  Totally.

“It’s overwhelming me and I’m getting angry, I don’t know what to do. Even when their dad is home, they still call me, even if he’s beside them and I’m in another room.”  Right, as a result of he doesn’t have this specific problem they usually’re not getting caught in one thing with him.

And she’s drained on the finish of the day.

So I 100% imagine this mother or father can change this, beginning with a number of self compassion, discovering the imagery and the attitude to imagine in herself as this complete person chief along with her personal middle and tempo. I actually hope that helps.

Please take a look at a number of the different podcasts on my web site, They’re all listed by topic and class, so try to be in a position to discover no matter matter you is likely to be involved in, and each of my books can be found in paperback at Amazon, Elevating Child Care, A Guide To Respectful Parenting and No Bad Kids, Toddler Discipline Without Shame.  You can get them in e book at Amazon, Apple, Google Play, or and in audio at As a matter of truth, you will get a free audio copy of both ebook at Audible by following the LINK within the liner notes of this podcast.

Thanks a lot for listening. We can do that.


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