Why do you always have to do this?’
If you have a child who is very inflexible and can’t bear change then you are not alone.
I often work with parents who say their child will have a complete meltdown if something they were expecting to happen does not happen.
Maybe you have said you will take them to the park in the afternoon but then it rains and you can’t go, or a family day out is ruined because your child can’t cope with the fact that the place they wanted to eat at is full, and they have an epic meltdown in public.
You may feel judged by onlookers and wish that your child could just be a bit more reasonable at least some of the time. Don’t despair because there are things you can do to work through this problem although it will take time.
Make time when your child is calm to talk about this and prepare them for the fact that sometimes plans change.
Make sure your child does not feel blamed or criticized as that would be unhelpful.
Acknowledge your child’s feelings and let them know that you understand it is upsetting for them when plans change, maybe talk about your own disappointment when something you were looking forward to didn’t happen and how that made you feel.
Talk through some different scenarios that might happen
Get your child used to the idea that they may have to face this situation from time to time.
It’s all too easy to react in the moment when things are happening, but this sort of planning and preparation is really worth doing.
And lastly but importantly:
Talk things over after the event
If things went well praise your child ‘I know you were disappointed, but you calmed down very quickly.’ If things have gone badly still talk about it but try not to blame or criticize as your child won’t be feeling great anyway and this can make them feel worse.
Instead say something like ‘I could see how upsetting it was for you when we couldn’t…. (whatever it was) what do you think you could do next time something like that happens?’
And next time you think you might encounter a difficult situation prepare your child first and talk it through before you go.
You may think this sound like pandering to your child, but here I’m really talking about children who find it particularly difficult to be flexible and who have really big emotions when this sort of disappointment happens. If you have a child like this you may have tried all the usual reasoning, encouraging, bribing, telling off or using consequences, but to no avail. Now it's time to do something different.
More useful parenting tips here:https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_i_2_10…