This is the second part of my response to the mom who wrote this letter:
Hi Faith Collins,
I love love your blog and reading it often as I have a newly 3 year old and a 9 month old at home. I have a questing regarding whiny and near constant meltdowns with my 3 year old. We found the 2’s to be very easy, not terrible at all but have found the 3’s to be very challenging so far. She is extremely whiny and almost everything results in meltdowns and tears. I for the first time, am finding myself NOT enjoying my time with her and that makes me sad. Just this morning she didn’t want to get dressed, I gave her a 5 min and a 1 min warning and then when it was time she yelled “no” and cried. Then she said she wanted raisins, I brought them to her and they were the wrong kind, more tears. You get the idea.
But It’s Hard!
Yes, it is absolutely hard work to keep your pleasant demeanor when your child is being whiny, or disrespectful, or demanding, over and over again. It is hard to model the pleasant tone/behavior that you want her to imitate, especially if she’s pushing your buttons. So what to do?
One thing I do when a child feels challenging is this: a child exhibits a challenging behavior (such as demanding raisins and then crying because they’re not what she wanted). I take a deep breath and imagine stepping backwards into what I refer to as my “Goddess Space.” I know/imagine that my back-space is filled with the Goddess spirit, and when I step backwards into it, I reconnect with that energy. When I’m there, I can dis-connect from the things that push my buttons. I don’t have to take things personally. From the Goddess Space I can see what this child needs in order to grow, and what kind of support she needs in order to learn to regulate herself. And often, then, I can do it from a place of compassion.