Anyway, I got a hundred pages into the book and decided to try to put into practice some of the things I had learned before reading more so I wouldn't be too overwhelmed. Here are two practical, take-home suggestions I've been working on. They are supposed to address a child's need for belonging and significance, so you don't have to worry about the kid throwing a tantrum in the first place instead of trying to figure out how to get the kid to stop.
1. Twice a day, set aside 10 minutes of individual time with each child. But I spend time with my kids all day long! Tell the child you're going to have JoshyMommyTime or whatever you want to call it, set the timer for 10 minutes, then give your undivided attention to just that child and do whatever the heck they want to do.
I've only done it once a day so far, but I've been doing it for maybe a month now. The kids know that at least once a day they will have my full attention all to themselves, so they don't act out to try to get that attention as much. And it is really so sweet when Bennett comes up to me and says, "Can we do MommyBennettTime now?"
Bennett has been happy building with Legos or Trios together every time. Joshy is a bit more ambitious; we've made videos, picture frames, a cardboard house, a target with darts, a puzzle, a book. Yeah, his ideas tend to be pretty cool. And I only have to invest 10 minutes into his elaborate projects so he can't get too crazy.
2. Teach your child a new skill, one that you know they will succeed at without much work. I have been letting Joshy help me with dinner, feed the baby, vacuum. Oh, you want to vacuum the van after our road trip? Well, I guess I'll let you, if you're really good... This gives him a sense of importance and responsibility. It's always easier to feel like you belong if you are contributing in a helpful way.
So far, I really have seen results. There have been less tantrums. I am less frustrated at the end of the day. There is less yelling. Okay, not always. Nobody's perfect.