outburst of emotion

Lately, we're been seeing a lot of frequent outburst from Bee, unpleasant ones I'm afraid.  She would cross her arms, pout and push me away.  I thought she was just not sure how to express her "feeling" so I do what I know best, ask her what's wrong, encourage her to tell me her feeling, and well, she did just that.  "I don't like you telling me what to do". 

I tried to reason with Bee.  Explained to her I need to tell her what she can and can't do because I care, because I love her and don't want her to hurt herself or others.  She's like "I'm still mad at you".  The more I explained myself, I realized her little tantrum also lengthen (taking longer to calm down).  I'm doing something wrong !!! Feeling the need to cure this before it gets out of hand, I seek for advices from her school moms.

As it turned out, other kids at the school were doing it too.  OK, so this is where she might have learned it (or she could be the one started it !).  I spoke to 5 moms and all said their kids have been behaving like that in the past while.  It's a phrase they said, but still need to be dealt with.  One mom shared that she encourages her son to talk to her BUT she doesn't give him any attention when he gives her attitude or has a melt down.  She would wait until he calms down then she would have a talk with him.  She would explain to him the consequences of bad behavior and take away his privilege for a block of time.  She said it doesn't stop in a day or two but by keep on doing it, she noticed he doesn't act up as often.  I'm going to take up on her advice.

Surely enough, on the way home Bee got angry at me !!  We were having a walking race, in the same time I was loading a picture of a squirrel I took to show her !  She stopped but I kept going a few steps of her, like 3 !  Thats all, and she's mad and her bottom lip stuck out as far as she can will it !!!!!  She sat down in the middle of the road.  I decided to ignore her behavior, and carry on as if it's no big deal, talking about the squirrel, showed her the pic. and even snapped a picture of her.  I stood there next to her for a few minutes, let her be "mad", when I sensed it's "cool', I told her I'm going to keep walking home, if she wants to join me she will need to get up and walk with me.  She got up slowly but up she did and we walked home.  I started to ask her about her day and she was excited to share with me about her new friend Robin.  On our way home we played silly games, she ran circles around me, and we raced to the front door.  It was as if nothing happened.

I don't know if the next flare-up can be diffused this easy but I learned something today.  Kids don't hold on to their anger for long.  At least in Bee's case.  Look back, I see her pattern.  She gets mad then she gets over it.  It's still new water for me anyways so I'm treading it carefully while observing her behaviors.

I asked Bee why she was mad earlier and she said she doesn't know = she doesn't remember (which makes it hard for me to give her a timed out !!!  I need to figure this out as I don't want bad attitude to to unnoticed/unattended).  I noticed though, that at this age, it seems its all about discovering for them.  What can I do, how far can I push, what is the outcomes, etc.   They expressed their displease, anger, etc. and then wait to see our reactions and then either repeat or move on.  By taking my attention away from Bee (and the tantrum itself) when she's throwing a tantrum, I'm showing her that it is the wrong way to get my attention or get what she wants.  I now see that even if my goal was to understand why she's angry and what is it that she wants, by responding every time to her tantrum, I'm encouraging this behavior.  I will gain better insight from her when she's not angry and she can absorb what I'm saying to her when she's calm.  Now that I think about it, aren't we adults the same ?  :)  Let's see what the next few days will be like !  Wish me luck !