Skip to main content

Best Advice Ever

One of those annoying forums that I've joined on LinkedIn, recently asked the question: what's the best advice you've ever been given?' I assume it was meant in a corporate sense, but the first thing that came to my mind was this: children need the most love when they're on their worst behaviour. 
Of course, this piece of advice was very interesting to the mother of three badly behaved children, one of whom was prone to major tantrums, so I decided to test it out. It was a normal afternoon. My daughter had just thrown the TV remote control at the window because I wouldn't allow her to cut her own hair with a nail scissors. That the window had cracked as a result didn't seem to cure her anger, so she did the rigid back and the big tears move, before throwing herself on the floor kicking and screaming until she managed to kick over a cup that hence spilled cold tea onto the floor. This was the part where I normally either started to join in by screaming myself whilst dragging her to her feet, or alternatively by just bursting into tears and ending up on the floor too. 
The new advice changed all that. Whilst in mid-temper and preparing to throw a cup through a glass cabinet door, I swooped down like an eagle and picked up the child. 'C'mere to me', I said, landing us both on the sofa, 'you're my gorgeous girlie, and I hate when you're sad.' She tucked her head into my arm and whimpered. Then she fell asleep. 
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not an easy touch who'll let someone walk all over me, I just find it's easier to deal with the bad behaviour after the tantrum, so the empathy during the tantrum is an instrument to nip it in the bud.  It's also quite probable that my child was so traumatized by her mother being kind that it shocked her into never having a tantrum again. 
But I've edited this piece of advice to suit other situations, and I'll swear by it. I'd say: people need the most empathy when they are on their worst behaviour, or underperforming or just being difficult. Don't even analyse it, don't ask yourself why that person is acting this or that way, just be nice to them, be supportive, be on their side, help them. Believe me, you'll find it works. 
Besides, when people irritate or annoy you, are rude to you or make your life difficult, being nice to them in return will have an impact on that behaviour, and even if it doesn't it'll impact you, you'll feel better for not entering things at their level. 
I've a few more bits of advice that'll be on offer on my new business blog, which I'll let you know about once it's all set up. 
On the subject of tantrums though, I think this TV commercial also offers some even better advice...



  

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

A Packet of Solpadeine and a Lecture Please

Years ago I was a respectable lady married to a nice German doctor, and it was he who brought to my attention that in Germany you can only buy pain killers in a chemist and not in a petrol station, pub or supermarket and that there was not a chance in hell that you could ever buy a pain killer with codeine in it directly from a pharmacy, which in Ireland, you can - Solpadeine.
Then a friend of mine who is a pharmacist told me that Solpadeine was her best seller. So lucrative were the sales that she did not have enough room to store the stuff in her pharmacy. But that was also back in the time when I was respectable, and in the meantime the Solpadeine police seem to be out on patrol.
Now if you ask me, I think it's pure madness to sell substances with codeine in them over the counter at a pharmacy, and I'm also a bit iffy about buying paracetemol in the supermarket, given that any 13 year old can go in and stock up on a drug that is lethal in relatively small doses. But there a…

The MoMa, a Beggar and my Limp

There’s a woman who walks up and down the streets around West 82nd and Amsterdam Avenue asking people if they’ll give her a dollar. I’d put her around 80. Small, wiry, bent, wispy hair. Brittle bird legs in black tights, but still a follower of fashion in a knit skirt with a tartan pattern, more the kind of skirt you might see on a 20-year-old Asian student. Pale pink lipstick, and a crimson red blouse topped with a cream overcoat despite the muggy August New York heat. I wonder what she does with the money she collects. She doesn’t look like she eats anything, can’t tell if she drinks. She’s sober when she pushes her trolley bag up and down 82nd, asking ‘do you have a dollar for me?’ I don’t give her one. I keep my dollars for the MoMa. My feet are killing me after walking into the city, but I’m scared of the subway. I did make a weak attempt, but have no idea what they mean by uptown and downtown. Both of these expressions mean the same thing where I come from: Uptown – as in, I’m…

The Now or the Nervous Breakdown?

There’s a thin line between reaching a state of inner peace comparable to that of a Buddhist monk and being bang on in the middle of a nervous breakdown. Thing is, I’m never sure which state I currently find myself in. It’s true that one feeds the other at times. You need to have a proper meltdown to let the storm settle and find your peace. And peace wouldn’t be peace if you didn’t allow the true tempest of this life to enter your accepting and non-judgemental state of whatever you want to call not letting stuff get to you.
The buzz word nowadays is ‘Mindfulness’. If I understand it correctly, it means that you should mind your mind, like think of it as a place where you set yourself up for feeling good or bad, and as with all of these pop psychology hits, it’s about living in the now. Like Buddhism it involves meditation and sitting cross legged on a straight-backed chair, and then you have to focus, focus, focus…
So far, I’m pretty good at not sweating the small stuff. I don’t worry…