Ever feel that way? You try desperately to avoid the inevitable meltdown, the screaming “NO!”, the next “I don’t have to and you can’t make me” or the falling on the floor in a fit of tears—in the middle of the supermarket. I hear so often, “Everyday it’s the same thing. I can’t get my child to do anything I want. It seems as if I ask her to lift her finger and she falls apart.”
I felt like I was walking on eggshells with my daughter from the time she was about 18 months to almost 5. I knew how to handle a lot of her meltdowns but it was exhausting, and I always felt like I had to be ready for the next unexpected reaction. So let’s examine what walking on eggshells means.
It means that you have to tread extremely lightly—or be so careful of what you do or say—for fear of breaking something extremely fragile. Is it your child who is so fragile or you?
Children who are strong-willed, have an extremely sensitive tolerance for injustice, hear “no” and think the world is coming to an end, and have a high need to feel in control of their surroundings are not fragile! Just the opposite. We are the ones who feel trod upon, attacked, bulldozed, punished, and shell-shocked. We don’t want to feel that way and so we try everything in our power not to set off the “time bomb”. In the meantime, we are sending our child a message of danger—“I’m afraid you are going to hurt me. You are someone to be avoided.” Granted, sometimes they do hurt. But the physical hurt doesn’t hold a candle to the mental anguish we go through, which is the #1 culprit in feeling exhausted and drained. Let’s examine.