Matching your Child’s Intensity
You don’t always have to be the calm mama or papa! Sometimes it’s useful to match your child’s intensity so they feel understood and can then move out of that state.
I’m going to talk about how to match the intensity of a child’s expression.
This is often something I recommend to the parents that I see in my practice. I don’t see children but I actually have a specialty in child and family when I went through school, that was always my focus, and then later when I became a clinician, I focused more on adults.
I love working with parents and love working and teaching them like how do you parent effectively and giving tips and things like that. So let’s get to it!
Often the child will go into “intensity” – they get a tantrum or they’re excited or maybe they’re getting overwhelmed and they start crying all kinds of things and generally we all try to picture ourselves as this very calm parent like “Oh honey, it’s okay. Let’s calm down.” and sometimes that’s really appropriate when you have a child is that is ramping up, often you can bring them down appropriately and say “Oh, okay let’s just take a breath here and calm yourselves down and it’s all going to be okay” but sometimes that’s not appropriate though, you have to judge this situation. You have to judge it with your own child too, but sometimes matching the intensity of the child is more appropriate.
So if a child is really angry about something, instead of being like the calm parent like “I understand honey, you’re very angry. I get it” it becomes like “Oh you are so angry! Oh my god! You’re so angry! I get it that would make me so so angry too!”
So it’s that kind of reaction that sometimes gives them validation even more so than the calm parent one and then they’re able to move out of that and into a hug from you or let’s go do something else so that you know we can handle those feelings and you know that that type of situation. So that’s just one example.
Another thing is perhaps they’re excited you can be like “Oh my god! I’m so excited! Let’s go! But first, we have to do this, this and this, so let’s make sure we get this done, and then we will go!”
So it’s moving into that energy and sharing the energy that they have while also keeping your perspective around it. So hopefully that helps you parent a little one (it’s more appropriate for little kids) and I hope you have a great day with it.
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