Overwhelmed Children and Power Struggles

Overwhelmed children are revolting, and the last thing parents want to be dealing with at this time of year. Each temperament displays their overwhelmed state in a different way, and that makes parenting a family of overwhelmed children all the more difficult.

After the late-to-bed because of Carol Service, we had a day dispersed with overwhelmed behaviour. The Owl fell into sobs if he was looked at sideways or if things didn’t go his way. These were easily dealt with using the magical Boring Cuddles (Quick Way to Stop Children Fussing.) . He also became stubborn, a sure way to tell that an Owl is overwhelmed. I always have to consciously watch my body-language and eye-contact when he’s in that state: any sign that I’m too focussed on him and the stubbornness gets worse.

The Hare, as Hares do, tried accelerating his anger to try to intimidate me and the Owl. Thank-goodness I know that’s what he’s doing.  I find it really hard not to react and respond like with like when he’s like that. I can feel my blood pressure rising and adrenalin kicking in. Just as Owls need the most patient parents, Hares need parents with super strong back-bones and mine gets wobbly from time to time. And unfortunately Hares understand power…so shouting or use of physicality tend to backfire. (Yes, that’s experience speaking.)

What would I expect from the other two temperament types? Tortoises, gotta love them,  would agree with everything their parents said – and do nothing. Their overwhelmed state is indicated by procrastination. Butterflies get silly. Baby-talk in children who can speak fluently is one sign; any show-off/look at me behaviours are another.

Of course, children often show a mixture of temperaments. Their core one is the one they revert to when they’re stressed. Yesterday, we had two out of our three somewhat stressed. I knew I was alive. That’s gotta be a good thing…right?

(Should you find this article useful, Koha is accepted, $1 is fine. The button is under my blog-roll. :))


About Karyn @ kloppenmum

kloppenmum is me, Karyn Van Der Zwet, mother of three and ex-teacher. I'm part of a revolution in parenting, with the aim to raise mature (not sophisticated) and self-assured children. I also know some stuff about adults. I have also had articles printed in The Journal for The British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (Children and Young People) and the US parenting magazine, Pathways to Family Wellness, as well I regularly write for World Moms Blog (named as one of the Forbes 100 most useful blogs for women 2012 &2013). You can follow me on facebook (kloppenmum) pinterest (Karyn at Kloppenmum) and twitter (@kloppenmum). I'm also vaguely on LinkedIn (Karyn Van Der Zwet). Thanks to Joe (Mr Hare) for taking the photo. Cheers, son: xxxx.
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6 Responses to Overwhelmed Children and Power Struggles

  1. I am struggling with learning a different way to parent my second child. She is my little hare. I agree that many of my tactics have backfired. It took me a long time to realize I have got to treat them different because they are different people and they react differently.

    • kloppenmum says:

      Hares are the most difficult to manage behaviour wise. They’re just so damned constant. On the plus side, they’re usually incredibly intelligent and creative and they’re meant to be the leaders of the world. No wonder they think they should be in charge. Good luck and pop back, I’m ALWAYS going to have lots to say about Hares!

  2. I think i am now hooked. Enjoyed reading your posts.

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