So as the parent of a Wild Heart (strong-willed sensitive child) I’m sure you are having your fair share of meltdowns. Passionate and feisty, you’d want them on your side when the going gets tough but dp you feel that you are constantly butting up against them?
Wild hearts are feeling beings
They are acutely aware and tuned into their environment. They can feel your bad mood, they can sense something isn’t right. They know, and often you will wonder how they do when you think you hide it so well from them, exactly when something is decidedly off. It’s like they catch all of the energy and feelings around them (good or bad) and have an almighty meltdown at the drop of a hat.
Their strong-will comes from a place of integrity so they believe they are doing the right thing for them. It’s very difficult to get them to change their minds.
So what can you do when the going gets tough?
I have already talked about what a Wild Heart is and what they need, but in this specific situation, you can really help them. To be precise, there are a few things a Wild Heart needs when their emotional back pack is full to bursting and that is:
1) To be heard + understood
Resist the urge to make them wrong and let them tell their side of the story. Even if you don’t agree, you can still validate how they feel. Validating is not the same as agreeing, it’s having empathy and showing that you understand how they feel. Imagine holding a mirror up to them and reflecting it back to then.
2) Acceptance + Allowing
When we are at our ‘worst’ or just being human with all our shouty and angry bits on show, your Wild Heart still needs to know that you love them. That you accept them and allow them to be themselves. That doesn’t mean you can accept disrespect or be in the firing line but the next one will help you with that.
3) Set Boundaries
Can you meet them where they are. Boundaries set with empathy are slightly different but this is the way with a Wild Heart. My ‘No More Power Struggles’ online learning pack will help you with this if you want to deep dive into empathy. When we weren’t shown empathy growing up, it’s hard for us to have it for our child, but it can be done.
4) Be a consistent loving presence
Sometimes there is nothing else to do except beam love to them and hold the space. In coaching we talk about holding the space a lot which is about truly listening with love. No judgement. No shaming. No disapproving looks. Just a big pair of ears and a huge pair of arms to catch all those icky feelings. A soft energy and a loving gaze which says I understand and I’m here for you. Lots of angry children find it hard to be vulnerable because it doesn’t feel safe enough for them to go to those soft feelings. My online course How to Really Listen With Love will give you a step-by-step guide on how to do this.
Trust yourself and trust your child to handle any situation that life throws at you. When you find it hard to trust you will want to control but you are not in control of your child’s behaviour. This will end badly. They need to work through their own emotions so they can feel their way to problem solving. Sometimes they need your help with this and other times, it just helps to know that you believe in them and you trust them and you trust yourself to work it all out.
6) Don’t take it personally
This isn’t about you. This is about a child who is having a problem (they are not the problem) and they are overloaded with feelings. That brings me on nicely to….
7) Change your perception of them
Having compassion, knowing that your child is a good kid and that they are separate from their behaviour will help you to be on their team and have their back while they momentarily meltdown. The energy of this will support them more than the energy of making them bad or wrong or naughty.
8) Watch yourself
Be aware of when you are getting sucked into a power struggle or you are having your buttons pushed. It helps to have self awareness and know your triggers. I talk about this here.
Does your child need some coping tools?
You can grab a copy of the Anger Energy Pod here or grab your copy of How to Tame Your Angry Dragon online learning pack which will help your child to process all their big emotions (sadness, anxiety, fear, worries etc.) as well as their angry ones.