I have a two year old…
For those parents out there, you already get me!
But we are definitely dealing with tantrums, melt downs, and big emotions.
And I can be honest with you right now and say that how I have dealt with those instances has been less than optimal…
But yesterday was different, and the skills I used are transferable and applicable even if you’re not a parent!
For the last 5 months or so, I’ve had numerous reps of trying to diffuse my son’s tantrums.
And after reflecting on my journal entries…
I realized I was less than proud of how I responded to his behavior…
So much so, that I reached out for coaching and help.
I read a few books, I sought out a professional, and enrolled in parenting classes.
And yesterday, I successfully implemented several of the tactics…
And I can report that I have never felt more proud of myself, and my journal entry took a 180 degree turn!
I realize probably most of the folks reading this may not be parents…
But I’m sharing this anecdote because I’m fascinated by organizational culture and believe the tactics I successfully implemented for a toddler can be implemented for adults just as effectively.
Once you the tantrum began…
I immediately took key actions that I could control:
1- I mentally prepared: I knew that what I was working on had to go on pause to give my full attention to the situation.
2- I focused on breathing: I needed to remain calm and in control so some deep nasal breathing to regulate my physiology prepared me for my work ahead.
3- I implemented empathy: I let my son know I was sorry we had to implement consequences and was sincere, not condescending.
4- Focused on action, not words: In the heat of the moment, a 2 year old isn’t listening to a lecture, let alone understand it. So instead, I removed him from the location and object of the meltdown and implemented a consequence of spending quiet time with me in his room.
5- Communicated next steps: I let my son know as soon as he was calm and ready to return, we could go back together to the scene of the crime, and I would wait quietly until that time.
6- End on a positive: As soon as he stopped crying and yelling, I extended the “olive branch”. I said, I’d love to give you a hug and go back to our activity. I made myself vulnerable and put my pride aside.
Net result: he laughed, we hugged, we went back as if nothing happened, and I was proud of myself.
So next time you argue with your partner or someone at work, are their principles here you can use to keep your goals on track?
I know I feel like I have skills that can be used in other disciplines and I look forward to getting in more successful reps.