Maturity is a Product of Experience, the Real Kind not Manufactured Bullshit

I have just been sitting on a grassy hill, under pine trees and in dappled sunlight, watching my four year-old play in a dam of icy water. (Yes, this is an old picture.)


From time to time, as he walked in the squelchy mud, he wobbled and corrected his body position. He often slipped, fell into the water, laughed, made eye-contact with me for reassurance that he could manage, and stood up again. He asked me to throw pine-cones into the water that he fetched for me to throw again. If he couldn’t reach them he attempted to use sticks of various weights and lengths to drag them back. Eventually, he found a stick correctly weighted and at the right length for him to consistently achieve his goal.

He was shocked by the temperature of the water (using eye-contact to make sure that I wasn’t worried) and simultaneously undisturbed by it – returning time and time again to greater depths until he felt uncomfortable. And then he went no deeper.

He learned. He learned. He learned. He learned. He learned.

I didn’t teach a thing.

What he was learning were non-conscious patterns of behaviour that will help him through life. These are different from unconscious behaviours like breathing, blood circulation or fear responses. Non-conscious patterns of behaviour are learned behaviours that form the base of intuition and self-trust. When you truly know how to manage, you know, you know how to manage. When you have made enough mistakes, you stop making them. When you have repeated the same mistake enough times, you stop making it. The more often you do this in one setting, the faster you spontaneously learn in another and the more efficient your brain becomes. And the easier life is to navigate.

Old fashioned play, like this, along with high levels of nurturing, firm boundaries, meaningful chores and rituals/stories/routines, are the foundation of true maturity.

It is very difficult to teach maturity using the conscious brain as a portal. As uncomfortable as it is for many of us to accept, consciousness merely interprets what information the rest of the brain feeds it. Or as David R Hawkins says in this book, Power v Force, “Consciousness is gullible, it believes everything it hears. Consciousness is like hardware that will play any software that’s put into it.”

(This does not mean that some top-down, consciousness first, learning is not useful. It is merely that it is much harder and stressful for the brain to learn this way and we are unlikely to become mature via the conscious brain.)

Prior to us leaving the dam, I gave three or four time warnings that we were about to leave. When it was time to go, there was no tantrum or fuss. His Playful Brain System was already alert that a change was imminent – he had imagined and accepted the transition before it happened. That information had had time to be fed into his consciousness. His conscious brain wasn’t shocked by a sudden change in focus. He also knew that what I said would happen: he’s used to my words and actions matching.

Parenting with human biology is so much easier, than trying to enforce how we want the world to be – whether we be traditional, attachment, freerange or super nanny parents, or some confused mixture of the lot.

 Parenting according to one method or expert can lead us to bratty, narcissistic children, or those full of bravado or bitchiness, or sad children for whom perfection is the only acceptable level of achievement. Often we keep going, following blindly what the ‘experts’ say, and trying to ignore that our kids aren’t quick to get over their tantrums, or seem sadder than we expected, or less mature than we intended them to be. Sometimes other people reassure us that things are just fine, because that makes them feel better about themselves – or their kids are the same.

We can keep doing what we are doing and ignore the tap dance of discomfort the rest of our brain is doing on our consciousness.

Or we can change our approach.

Of course, that takes great courage and can involve the shattering of dearly held beliefs.

I’m leaving the final word to David Hawkins:

“If life is viewed as a teacher, then it becomes just that. But unless we become humble and transform them [experiences with unexpected outcomes] into gateways to growth and development, then the painful life lessons we deal ourselves become wasted.”

For more innovative and science based information on parenting, in particular tantrums, you could go and buy my book – All About Tantrums: Why we have them, How to prevent them, What to do when they happen. There’s the link riiiiiiiiight there:

‘All About Tantrums’ is also now available for Kindle.

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Tantrum Recovery Time.

Ever noticed how the children, who have both emotional support and firm and reasonable boundaries, recover so much more quickly from their Processing Tantrums than those who don’t have these?

Or, if they do have a major meltdown and the support is there and boundary is held, how much less likely they are to have another one soon after?

Even when their Processing Tantrums are exacerbated by Reaction Tantrum issues?

Especially when their parents keep out of The Drama Triangle? (TANTRUMS: Do You Make Them Worse or Help Them Ease?.)

Yeah. That.


For more innovative and science based information on tantrums you could go and buy my book – All About Tantrums: Why we have them, How to prevent them, What to do when they happen. There’s the link riiiiiiiiight there:

‘All About Tantrums’ is also now available for Kindle.

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So Kloppenmum-ers, where do you fit on the scale of 1 to 10 (1 being least upset, 10 being most) when your children tell you that they hate you?

When someone tells us they hate us they are telling us that they don’t like the information they are processing at the time. Most often, in parenting, this happens when a child is having a tantrum after we have used the word, No, or set some boundary or other. Most often, with adults, this happens when we decide we are not going to be treated in a certain way or we challenge the other about something we deem inappropriate.

And, they really do hate us: at this moment and until the processing is complete  and they accept the boundary or our right to an alternative opinion. And that reaction is OK. No, really.

Anger, fear and sorrow are all automated defense mechanisms and they are useful and fine, unless they get stuck. Stuck bodily sensations/emotions are where the problems lie. *We want to be angry but have to stuff those sensations away. *We feel sad but have to hide that we’re feeling sad. *We are experiencing deep fear but cannot fight the person we fear or we cannot get away from them. These are the sorts of situations that cause our bodily sensations/emotions to get stuck and cause us long-term problems.

The only way to keep bodily sensations (and emotions) fluid and healthy, is to go through the Processing Tantrum to the end. This means as boundary setters, we absolutely have to keep our own stuff out of the processing of the other person. (Well, as best we can, and let’s do better next time.) We do that by keeping ourselves calm and emotionally detached, and by understanding the other has to get through to the end of these tantrums in order to gain the benefits (which are many) from them, all the while – holding the boundary.

We do not become victims and make it all about us by saying things like:

1. I get upset when you say you hate me.

2. I do so much for you and this is how you repay me?

3. I just want to cry when you speak to me like that.

4. It’s not fair, stop picking on me.

We do not become rescuers and make it all about us proving to ourselves we are good parents/people, by reasoning with the other or debating with the other or continually explaining the situation.

We do not become persecutors and make it all about us being right or by trying to stop their processing by saying things like:

1. I will throw your snuggly in the rubbish if you carry on like this.

2. You won’t be able to sit with me at the dinner table or have a cuddle in bed tonight.

3. You are bad/naughty/stupid.

4. Don’t get angry, there’s no reason to be angry.

We do not become patronising gits and say things like:

1. You don’t hate me, you hate the power I have over you.

2. You are just processing a situation you’re not happy about.

3. You just need to get over yourself.

4. If you would only focus on being happy, it would all go away.

To help the other person to get through the process, to completion, we can do things like:

1. Stay physically present but otherwise occupied by folding laundry or doing dishes or some other chore. If you’re dealing with an adult, just get on with your life and out of the way.

2. Keep yourself calm by deep breathing or imagining a happy place.

3. Accept and believe this has nothing to do with you, and everything to do with them learning where the edge of their world lies.

4. Expect things will get worse and worse and worse and worse and worse and worse and worse until a peak is reached, and then there will be a slow-ish decent to calm and acceptance.

5. Expect someone who loves you will want to emotionally reconnect and be ready to do so as soon as the other shows signs of this. (Warm non-intrusive eye-contact, physical touch, playfulness, asking for help to make things better, apologising sincerely, etc)

6. Expect the other to make the most effort in repairing the relationship for people older than eight years-old, and that you will make the most effort in repairing the relationship if they are younger than this. Even small children can at least walk over to you and give you a hug or help tidy up the tantrum mess they made. People are a bit funny like that – let them off scott-free, no effort involved on their part – and they don’t feel so good about themselves; have them make an effort and their sense of self increases.

7. Expect that every time you back down, the following tantrums will be more intense and last longer.

8. Expect that the more you hold the boundary this way, the fewer the tantrums will become, if no one else has interfered with their processing  and over many months.

9. Expect their increased serenity, playfulness and maturity after the tantrum session. Expect greater acceptance of reasonable boundaries and perhaps some discussion around them. This later calm time, is the time to go into detail about why they cannot have ice-cream for breakfast, or throw things in the house, or hurt another child, or watch tv until 10pm.

10. Expect you will become less upset by hearing those words, “I hate you” and confidence in your parenting abilities to increase, as you really come to terms with understanding the process of boundary setting.

If we, the other or a third person interrupt the process of acceptance (of boundary or alternative view) then the sensations and emotions of hatred/anger/fear/sorrow get stuck.  They become much more difficult to shift over time. It is only by going through and ending the process of acceptance that these can properly clear. Even appeasing the wounded person does nothing but embed the stress in their viscera and muscles. It’s only in completion that the pathways in the brain can join as they are meant to join, and greater maturity and understanding of the world can be gained. The positive side-effect is increased physical health.

For more innovative and science based information on tantrums you could go and buy my book – All About Tantrums: Why we have them, How to prevent them, What to do when they happen. There’s the link riiiiiiiiight there:

‘All About Tantrums’ is also now available for Kindle.


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All About Tantrums – Review

If you’re wondering about checking out  ‘All About Tantrums’ this is a review that might help you make up your mind.

When I read it, I felt it was completely fair in both praise and criticism.

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Tantrum Management Check List for Kloppenmum-ers


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TANTRUMS and the Stubborn Child

So, Kloppenmum-ers I had the privilege of two children melting down this week – oh the joys!

The first was our eight year-old, our usually lovely boy with an Owl temperament. It started as a simple Possession Tantrum over a few balloons and escalated rapidly. He was  a bit tired and with an Owl temperament, so anything can be a trigger for him feeling overwhelmed and then melting down.  He leapt on to Karpman’s Drama Triangle as a victim, and really wanted me to join him there too, as a rescuer or persecutor, to reinforce the pattern. My job was to stay calm and stay emotionally detached until he decompressed enough to disengage from the drama – all the while holding the boundary.

As I have found before with this temperament, Random Words and Phrases – that usually work so well with other children, didn’t work. He was also too deeply embedded in his Flesh Brain (fight/flight) system to understand any explanations, and no explanations would have been adequate – his emotional state was so intense. He was furious and threatening to hurt the other boys. I removed him from their general vicinity.

Part Two involved him outside throwing the contents of our recycling bins all over the deck and tipping over the outdoor furniture. At this point he was deeply stubborn and not wanting to interact with anyone. He was deep in his sense of righteousness. He was digging himself deeper into a hole. He could only make things worse, unless I found him a way out of the hole – without engaging in the drama. Talk about parenting on a tight-rope!

Thanks to experience, it was a simple situation to sort. I put my head out the door and told him I would help him to tidy up when he was ready to do so, but that I wasn’t allowing a violent child near the others. I reminded him that I loved him but that I did not love the drama. (Separating him from his behaviour…he’s a good kid, his behaviour was momentarily out of line.) I reminded him he is allowed to be angry but that violence is not anger. It’s violence. Then I left him alone and gave him the space to decide what would happen next.

He stayed in his hole for about another 10 minutes – attempting to damage the house and continuing to threaten the other boys. I continued with my chores and each time there was the real threat of damage to the house I reminded him *that* wasn’t O’Kay behaviour and that I was ready to help whenever he was ready.

Eventually, he grudgingly muttered that he was ready to tidy up. I immediately stopped what I was doing, and went to help. I helped as long as he was working too. I was NOT there to rescue him and reinforce his role as a victim on the drama triangle by doing the work for him. I was there to emotionally and physically support him coming out of a rage, not leave him to struggle further. I was there to help turn off the flow of cortisol that was helping him to learn, before it became toxic.

There were a few false starts but we actually had the mess sorted within a couple of minutes. He spontaneously apologised for the threat of violence and mess, and all relationships were well on the way to being repaired. He made several further efforts to ensure that he and I were on good terms during the rest of the evening.

Over the years we have done a lot of work around,  ‘the person rupturing a relationship is responsible for its repair’. (There are three entities in any relationship: individual one, individual two, and the relationship itself.)

He was serene from then until bedtime. It was as if he had found internal peace.


There have been no further drama over balloons.

For more innovative and science based information on tantrums you could go and buy my book – All About Tantrums: Why we have them, How to prevent them, What to do when they happen. There’s the link riiiiiiiiight there:

 ‘All About Tantrums’ is also now available for Kindle:

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‘All About Tantrums’ on KINDLE

Here’s a temporary link through to amazon.

Kindle version is $6.50 US

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