I can hear the screaming and crying from my office. It has been going on for five minutes. I can Mickey screaming, "It's my turn!!", and the teacher screaming back, "No, it's not! You can't run this group! You stop it!!" Here they come again! The teacher stomps into my office, with Mickey in tow. Angrily, she puts him on the couch, "He's got to learn he can't just have his way all the time! I don't have time to deal with his fighting me!!" She stomps off to rejoin her group of three year old kids which is now (of course) in chaos. Tears are streaming down Mickey's face; his face is red; his entire body shakes with the hiccups. I turn my chair toward him.....less than a minute later, he has calmed down, acknowledged what he needs to do to be with his group, and is going off to rejoin his group where he is able to cooperate again. Why? What happened?
I turn my chair toward him.... I gesture for him to come to me. Sniffing and sad, Mickey comes to me and leans against my leg; I place my left arm around his shoulders gently and with my right hand I rub his chest and stomach (where tension is held)...TOUCH! I lean my head down towards his, keeping a gentle expression on my face...BODY POSTURE AND FACIAL EXPRESSION! In a gentle nurturing tone, I begin speaking to him...TONE! I say, "It must be sad for you to get into trouble with the teacher, isn't it? You feel bad don't you?" (I don't repeat rules or make judgments about the circumstances; I speak to his state of being- his feelings)...VALIDATING MESSAGE! Mickey's distress melts; his body relaxes; and he says, "Yeeesss!" in a sad but not angry or distressed voice. Mickey has been heard by someone- he has been validated. Now he feels safe again. NOW, I can tell him (and he can hear), "Mickey, you need to try to cooperate with the teacher. Okay? Can you go back and tell the teacher you want to try again?" Mickey nods his agreement and trots off back to his group. Less than one minute's elapsed time- the one-minute temper tantrum solution!
Type: MANIPULATIVE UPSET HELPLESS CATHARTIC