And yet, when a child, or even an adult, is acting in such a way as to be out of themselves with rage, anger or fury, it is pretty clear that they are not being themselves. They have been distracted or influenced to be something or someone else in order to compensate for their disappointment, frustration or confusion. This reaction can be triggered by many things. It can be the way the parent or adult is reacting. It can reflect anger, frustration, rage and/or fury that other people have been and the child has felt these feelings and not realized that it isn't theirs. One thing that is for sure is that if you react to the behavior with anger, rage or fury, you will most likely not have done anything to empower the child to to know that they can choose something different. Usually they will have one of two options- which is pretty limited considering we live in a world of infinite possibilities- to agree with your reaction and stop and withdraw inward or to resist you and continue to have the fit. Neither option really works if we want to empower our kids.
So what is a parent to do? I have a question that has worked with other parents. Ask the child, "Who are you being right now?" This is said with complete calmness and curiosity as to who or what they are being. Kids will range their answers from a lion to the mad teacher at school or to someone else that they know. The key with this is to let them see that they are choosing to be someone or something else. It doesn't really matter who or what. Is there another possibility? Can they choose to be who they would like to be? What would they like to choose? This doesn't mean that they suddenly get happy. They may choose to remain to be a tiger, but in many instances you can then take this to a different level that allows the child to know that you are being in allowance of their choice to be a tiger, when you both know that your child is choosing to be someone or something else and they are not being themselves. With this allowance the energy of the anger, rage and fury begins to dissipate. You can follow up with some other empowering questions like: I wonder what else is possible that I have never even thought of before? I wonder how a tiger got into the shopping cart? Adding humor shifts energy when timed as the energy is leaving. How wonderful to know that we can laugh about our situations.
Who are you being is also a good question for adults to ask themselves when they are out of sorts or stuck in a place that seems hopeless. I wonder who you might be being sometimes and if you acknowledged that you weren't being you. Would you choose to be you instead?