For all intents and purposes, a tantrum can best be described as an emotional fire. When your kid reaches that point, all bets are off. In fact, as parents, we’ll employ almost any tactic to return to a state of calm.
Still, there’s one technique that Dr. Becky Kennedy, a child psychologist and author of Good Inside, says we should avoid: Labeling our kid’s emotions in the moment. We recently chatted with Kennedy as she helped relaunch the newly reimagined LEGO Friends Universe (The brand recently launched a range of new faces dedicated to non-visible and visible representation as well as kids’ full range of emotions.)
Her suggestion: Name the wish instead.
Let’s say your kid is melting down after you set a limit on screen time. All they want is another show. Resist the urge to label the feeling (“I see you’re frustrated”) and prioritize verbalizing the unfulfilled wish at the root of their tears. “You wish you could watch another episode of Bluey.” More situations: “You wish you could have ice cream for breakfast” or “You wish you could stay up late like your brother.”