There are few things more challenging than angry meltdowns.
I’m talking about an explosion of intense emotion that may include hitting, swearing and screaming. If your child has angry meltdowns, you may find yourself reacting and becoming very angry yourself.
I know what its like. I’ve been there. I have two sons and they both went through periods when they experienced explosive anger.
From the start, I was clear that I didn’t want to punish them. I didn’t want to inflict emotional pain to try and “teach them a lesson.”
I also didn’t want to shame them or tell them that they were bad or wrong for getting angry. I knew that would make them feel even worse and it wouldn’t help them become calm.
So what was left to try? I wanted a new, peaceful approach to dealing with angry meltdowns.
I realised that the only way I could really help my child was to listen to their anger without reacting. I had to be the calm centre at the heart of the storm; the one that didn’t get angry, frustrated or fearful.
Being calm in the middle of an emotional storm may sound like an impossible goal, but it isn’t.
The practice that made it possible for me to be calm in the face of intense emotions was a shift of focus into calm, peaceful Presence. Every single one of us has calm, peace and stillness inside that is always with us.
In fact, it’s our true nature.
We get so caught up in our stressful thoughts that we lose touch with Presence and we forget that its there. Finding a way to shift attention away from our stressful thoughts is essential.
I discovered the most effective way for me to still my thinking is to focus attention on the energy inside my body.
What is this inner energy?
It’s the tingling aliveness that you can feel inside your hands, feet and all through your body.
Can you find it now?
Shift your focus and feel the vibrant, calm energy within your body.
The great thing is, I found that I could focus attention on my inner energy at the same time that I was listening to one of my sons have an angry meltdown. This pulled attention away from my stressful thoughts and I was able to listen calmly to my child.
When my focus shifts to listening in Presence I don’t need to say much at all. I treat the angry meltdown like a thunderstorm. I listen with empathy for my child’s distress, but I don’t take what they say personally. I take shelter from the hitting and yelling if necessary, and I wait for my child’s anger to pass.
Once the energy of my child’s anger has subsided I offer a hug. Then we get on with our day. Without my own reactions feeding the meltdowns they pass more quickly and begin to melt away.
My greatest wish is that you find this calm Presence within yourself too. I know it’s there, waiting to be recognised.