NOTE: This has been edited with explanations of some of my writings.
I received the book “Out of Control” by Dr. Shefali Tsabary to review more than a year ago when my daughter was a little more than two years old. Unfortunately, I didn’t have as much time as I wanted to read the book (things got a little crazy for a while and my blogging and spare time became difficult). I knew, however, that this was a book I must read: 1) because I had promised that I would and 2) because when I skimmed through it, I knew that it was a book that would help me with my daughter in the future.
The second reason is more true than I had realized. When my daughter hit her tantrum and unreasonable stage at the age of three and a half, I turned to Dr. Tsabary’s book, “Out of Control.”
Within the past few months, I have started using the lessons in this book. I decided to purchase the ebook (I got this book in pdf format) so that I would be able to highlight portions on my Kindle that I would like to return to. Here are the things that I have learned from Dr. Tsabary’s book so far:
1. Discipline doesn’t work.
Rather than yelling and screaming, try to understand why my daughter is upset by talking with her. In my head, this work. In practice, it has been very difficult for me. Unfortunately, me trying to talk to my daughter leads to her screaming at me,” I don’t want to do it beause I’m scared!” When I ask her what she’s scared of she says,” I’m scared of shadows (or toilet paper or ponies or rainbows or breathing or insert other ridiculous answer here).” She really has yelled at me that she peed on the floor because she is scared of rainbows when I tried to talk calmly to her. Sigh. This leads me to number 2.
NOTE: My husband said this step works for him very well. For me, it works sometimes, but if it doesn’t, I head to step 2.
2. Walk away.
When number one isn’t working with her, I walk away. It pains me to do so, but I do it so I can compose myself and calm myself down. This works. My daughter gets very upset and runs to me. (NOTE: I’m not trying to make her upset, and she isn’t always upset, I’m trying to calm myself down so she does not experience my anxiety which is not good for my daughter.) She says she’s not scared anymore. I can’t do this when we are out of the house so this means I have to do number 3.
3. Remove her from the situation.
If she is being very naughty in the place that she is at and isn’t ready to be in the location, I get up and walk her out. Sometimes just the idea that she’s going to have to leave means that she will stop acting out. Other times, we end up walking out.
4. I’m eliminating my script.
I’ll admit to making a movie script in my head. And I’ll admit that I probably shouldn’t. Heck. I wrote one in college once. While I was excited about it, no one else was. I think that my daughter isn’t excited about my script either. I’m working at helping her create her own role… It’s been quite a challenge, but she’s blossoming into a headstrong and creative young girl.
This is a brief summary of the lessons in this book, my interpretations of the lessons, and the actions I have taken. I haven’t summarized everything, as I believe that you should read the book, but I wanted to write about a few of the lessons that have been valuable and helpful in connecting and working with my daughter through her difficult stages.
If you are searching for a way to help you with understanding and working with your children, I would definitely recommend reading this book and highlighting and bookmarking parts that resonate with you.