We all know that kids get angry. It happens easily and intensely; children feel their emotions in their full purity.
How often can you remember being angry at a child?
For me, up until a few days ago, I can’t remember ever being truly angry at a child I was caring for. I’ve been frustrated, sure. Exasperated. Annoyed. Yeah.
But angry? Truly angry? The kind of anger that bubbles up and tears prick your eyes and you want to scream? That never happens. Especially not to me.
But a few days ago, it did. I was so, so, so angry. I had good reason, of course – a five year old had decided that my iPad needed to take a dive over a balcony – but I was shocked at my reaction. Over the years, I’ve dealt with everything. Literally. Diaper blowouts, broken arms, bee stings, falls, scrapes, almost-fatal kitchen accidents: you name it, I’ve handled it. I even had a kid try to pull a fire alarm once, just because he wanted to see the firemen. Yeah.
So it scared me a bit that my first reaction to this horribly expensive but really not that big a deal (at least he didn’t throw himself over the railing) accident was to be angry.
If you’ve been in a situation like this, you know that, theoretically, the first thing to do is take a deep breath. Even if the situation is crazy, as long as no one is in immediate danger, take a breath.
The second thing is to remember that even if it was the child’s fault, they are still just a child. They either didn’t understand what they were doing or didn’t understand the implications of what they were doing.
Once you’ve taken a moment to evaluate the situation, make a decision about what to do next. In this case, I distracted the kids while I cleaned up the tiny glass shards (iPads are dangerous, man), and decided to call the parents. I’m usually an advocate for toughing it out, but you do have the option of calling the parents home early. I knew that I couldn’t provide the level of care my customers expect while I was that upset.
It’s important that you know how to deal with intense emotions while you’re working. Kids bring out the best in us, and the worst.That’s why we love them!
If you have any tips on handling those emotions around kids, I’d love to hear them. Even though I’m calm now, it was an emotional ride for me.