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Parenting is amazing, but can also come with it’s challenges. . Because of this we asked YOU what scary parenting challenges you would like us to discuss with the amazing Lina Acosta Sandaal, an early childhood mental health specialist from Stop Parenting Alone. She answered our questions and yours in a recent Facebook Live, which can be found below. 

Below are five key takeaways from FB Live discussion about parenting challenging child  behaviors:

  1. Parents may believe that children as young as two should be able to calm themselves down. This is FALSE. Most children can’t calm down on their own until approximately the age of 5,  Also -- OMG ALERT --three year olds tend to have three tantrums per hour and one minor conflict every three minutes. Yup, you read that right. For more information, check out Zero to Three’s parent survey and see some key insights about behavior for children under three
  2. Emotional dysregulation is the inability to settle down your emotions . Parents sometimes identify this as “bad behavior” when it’s  actually the child not able to regulating emotions. As Lina notes, an example of this is when your little one is hitting their sibling with a pencil or other object. This behavior is a lack of impulse control and the expression of anger by hitting. When you take away the pencil from the child you have dealt with the “challenging behavior.  , Their following “meltdown” is emotional dysregulation and that needs the assistance of a parent to settle.
  3. When was the last time you learned a lesson after being punished? Can’t think of a time? This is why we have to discipline children and not punish. Discipline is to teach.  Punishment is to hurt. Most people do not learn from being hurt, they try to protect/defend themselves. Remember, as a parent or caregiver you are this little one’s mentor and teacher. When thinking about discipline, we need to be clear on the  values we are trying to instill and check to see if our discipline/rules match up. For more on discipline, check out Lina’s past blog with MomsRising on discipline
  4. Finding patience with little ones can be difficult! One simple trick is to take a deep breath. Breathing is the reset button of the brain! When we stop and breathe, those around us stop and breathe as well! Next time your little one is having a moment, get on their eye level and take a deep breath together. This will ease tensions and make the rest of the conversation less heated and emotional. If you scream and cause a rupture as Lina puts it, it is okay! Just make sure to match this rupture with a repair. More info on this here
  5. You are not supposed to make your child happy. Yes, you read that right! You are not supposed to make your child happy. Happiness comes and goes, it is not sustainable. When it comes to discipline, parents just want their little ones to be happy. Yet, after you set rules and are consistent in implementing them, you have to respect the emotions that come out of your child.  Respecting emotions here is key, for both children and adults, because. It is not appropriate to tell another person that what they are feeling is wrong.  This is especially difficult to do with children since as adults we find illogical what upsets them.  But they are experiencing true emotional pain, help them manage it and try to stop judging it  

While these are some of my key takeaways from the Facebook live, Lina offers so many more insights! From why we should avoid spanking to how to advocate for your child in a preschool expulsion, there is so many more tips in this awesome video. Haven’t watched it yet or need a refresher? Check it out on our Facebook page

Lina also offers another video for parents looking to learn more about disciplining young children

What was your favorite tip or insight from the video? Share with us in the comments below! Have an idea for a future Facebook live with Lina? Comment that below as well!

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