Parenting can be a rollercoaster ride, filled with moments of joy, love, and laughter. However, it also comes with its fair share of challenges, such as dealing with your child’s tantrums. These outbursts can be overwhelming and leave us parents feeling stressed, frustrated, and unsure of how to handle the situation. Often we can become reactive or triggered by our children’s tantrum, quickly becoming angry or overwhelmed. In this blog post, we will explore the powerful technique of Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT) and how it can help you calm yourself in the midst of your child’s tantrum.
Tantrums are a normal part of a child’s development, especially during their toddler years. They often occur when children are unable to express their emotions or communicate their needs effectively. While tantrums can be challenging for parents, it’s important to remember that they are not a reflection of your parenting skills. Yet how often do we feel like we are at fault or have done something wrong? When emotions get high and the child does something that we feel they should know is one of our triggers, (because darn it that 3 year old is a devious mastermind pulling all the strings and doing it on purpose to upset me) we we can react in a way that we later regret. Instead, using EFT we can find a calm release in the moment and allow ourselves to return to logical thinking so that we can figure out what our child needs from us in that moment, and how best to deal with the tantrum.
What is EFT?
Emotional Freedom Technique, also known as tapping, is a therapeutic tool that combines elements of traditional Chinese medicine and modern psychology. It involves gently tapping on specific acupressure points on the body while focusing on the emotional issue at hand. EFT aims to release emotional blockages and restore balance to the body’s energy system.
Using EFT to Calm Yourself
When faced with your child’s tantrum, it’s crucial to prioritize your own emotional well-being. By calming yourself first, you can better support your child through their emotional outburst. Here’s how you can use EFT to achieve a sense of calm:
- Recognize and acknowledge your emotions: Take a moment to identify and accept your feelings of frustration, anger, or overwhelm. This step is essential in order to address these emotions effectively.
- Take a breath and keep taking those deep breaths and fully blow them out as that will immediately begin the centering and calming process.
- Find a quiet space: If possible, find a quiet area where you can have a few moments to yourself. This will allow you to focus on the EFT process without distractions. If of course you are right in the middle of the tantrum try to switch off with your partner. If they are not available and you have even one hand free then tap along in the moment.
- Begin tapping: Start by tapping on the fleshy side of your hand opposite the thumb while repeating a setup statement such as, “Even though I feel overwhelmed by my child’s tantrum, I deeply and completely accept myself.”
- Tap through the points: Continue tapping on each of the following acupressure points while repeating a reminder phrase that acknowledges your emotions. These points include the eyebrow, side of the eye, under the eye, under the nose, chin, collarbone, under the arm, and top of the head.
- Release and breathe: After completing a round of tapping, take a deep breath and release any tension or negative emotions you may be holding onto. Allow yourself to feel a sense of calm and relaxation.
- Repeat as needed: If necessary, repeat the tapping process until you feel a significant shift in your emotional state. Remember, everyone is different, so it’s important to listen to your own needs and adjust the process accordingly.
By taking these few moments to go through this process you are setting your self up for a better chance of de-escalating the problem. The first thing that happens as you work through the points is it brings down your cortisol levels. This allows you to start feeling calmer and be able to think more clearly about how to approach the tantrum in a more effective way. Suddenly you are able to see if the little one is trying to communicate something, or something is off in their world. When I take the few moments to do this before I respond to my little one, I realise that he is probably hungry and wanting some attention (and addressing those usually neutralizes the intensity of the issue). By tapping on those points and working through the stress, we also move out of fight or flight mode. Frequently when a child throws a tantrum they do know the best ways to get our attention. This is most often our triggers or buttons. Yet they are simply learning the most effective way to get our attention and focus at that given moment because something in their world is wrong.
This still throws us into fight or flight however. Our buttons are pushed, our subconscious or lizard brain is thrown into over drive and is looking for a fight or to run away. Yet by tapping we are able to calm down our subconscious and begin thinking logically once more to figure out how we choose to act in the situation, rather then simply react! By doing this simple routine it doesn’t guarantee that you see the solution to the tantrum and it resolves without issue. No system or tool will ever be a magic bullet like that. Instead it better equips and prepares us to handle the tantrum in the best possible fashion. The really cool thing as well is that you can even tap on this to prepare for future tantrums. You can totally prepare your subconscious with how you want to handle future tantrums and be less flustered, angry, frustrated, blindsided etc.
Parenting can be challenging, especially when faced with your child’s tantrums and no solution is perfect. You are going to make mistakes and things are going to get messy. However, by incorporating techniques like EFT into your self-care routine, you can better manage your own emotions and provide a calm and supportive environment for your child with a better chance of success. Remember, EFT is a tool that can help you navigate the ups and downs of parenting with more ease and grace. So, the next time you find yourself in the midst of a tantrum, take a moment to tap into your own emotional well-being with EFT.
If you want to see a video demonstration of this technique and how to do it please follow the link below and watch a video of me demoing this exact thing.
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