I loved this information and the revelation it meant for me particularly in regards to technology usage, or screen time as we know it, because it helped me understand my child’s feelings and behaviour. Knowing what to expect has helped me keep my emotions in check, stay connected, and not take their behaviour personally.
It’s good to remember too, that children express their feelings through their behaviours.
Imagine the scenario. It may be time for dinner, or the time limit is up for technology usage.
Stage number 1 is DENIAL. It goes something like this:
Parent: “Your time is just about up. You’ve been on the iPad for over two hours. It’s time to get off the iPad.”
Child: “No it’s not. It hasn’t been two hours. I only just got on.”
Stage number 2 is ANGER. You know how this goes. Notice your own anxiety levels at this stage in response to their anger.
Stage number 3 is BARGAINING. You’ll hear things like “Let me have another 10 minutes. It’s not fair, Jason had more time than me.” Be careful here as they try to pry a window open for more time. Children want boundaries, even during a fight. Stay firm and kind.
Stage number 4 is SADNESS. This is where you may give in. Best to empathise and support your child. Give them strategies to deal with their sadness.
Stage number 5 is ACCEPTANCE. Phew! The amount of time it takes to get to this stage is different for each child. Particularly teens who can go for days in the anger stage. The aim is to build their psychological muscle to go through these stages quicker and move on.
Our job is to teach our children how to handle these big feelings. In order to do that, we must be able to regulate our own emotions first. We need to model to our children that we can deal with our own emotions and behaviour.
Would love to know how your kids go through the five stages and any tips on how you handle it.
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