When do you expect your children to be able to share?
We teach taking turns and don’t have any problems over things. If my children can’t work out a way to take turns, the toy goes away, because people are more important than toys. Since my children don’t feel like they have to protect their things, they have shared very early.
When can children control of own feelings, or stop having tantrums?
These are two very different things. I believe that emotions often are so big that, for adults and children, they overflow into emotional outbursts. Not always appropriate, but often age appropriate and sometimes very understandable. With pre-verbal children, it’s very common because they don’t know how else to express themselves. I comfort the child and bring her back to acceptable behavior. I work to teach all of my children the way to express themselves appropriately, and I meet their needs so that they don’t feel desperate, or like they have to look out for themselves.
During the toddler years, children go through a stage where they don’t get their way and the emotions burst out. By responding with love, gentleness, and validation of their feelings without giving in to their requests, this is a very short-lived stage. I describe actual tantrums as the result of children having been rewarded for emotional outbursts. This is often the case with a parent who will do anything to make her child happy and when the parent starts trying to set limits, the child takes the outbursts to the next level.
I do not believe that happy is the only acceptable emotion, and therefore I don’t have this problem. My high-needs, 3 1/2-year-old daughter had a very hard time controlling her emotions; I wouldn’t call them tantrums because there was no intent to manipulate and get me to change my mind. She was taught better ways to express herself and didn’t get rewarded for the behavior, and it subsided. Now she gets sad, even very sad sometimes, but she behaves appropriately.
How old were your children before they were following instructions?
I use the 5 Steps and my children always follow instructions, whether they can do it themselves or need my help. As they mature, they need my help less and less. Very rarely will my 6-year-old need my help, and when I start to give it, he jumps and does it himself. Very rarely will my 4-year-old need my help; when she does it’s because she’s exhausted or hungry. And, very rarely does my 2-year-ols need my help – he’s very independent!