Parenting Resource

Mia, Age 13 Months, Learning Self-Control

May 19, 2010

Watch to see how Rosanna helps Mia cope with her frustration at having her diaper changed. What do you see Mia doing to communicate her feelings? How does Rosanna help her daughter manage these intense feelings?

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To Think About:

  • What do you think Mia is thinking and feeling based on her sounds and gestures?
  • How does Rossana read and respond to Mia’s signals?
  • What might Mia be learning about self-control in this interaction?

What the Experts Say About This Interaction

What Mia does:

  • Uses her gestures, body movements, facial expressions and sounds to show she does not want her diaper changed.
  • Allows herself to be soothed (momentarily) by mouthing the snack container and later the yellow plastic toy.
  • Recovers quickly from her frustration as soon as she is allowed to stand up and play again.

What Rossanna does:

  • Tells Mia what is about to happen so that she can prepare. Rossanna recognizes that taking even a short break from playing will be hard for her daughter.
  • Recognizes Mia’s feelings about not wanting to have the diaper change. Uses lots of language to soothe Mia.
  • Stays calm and works quickly to change the diaper. Does not yell or get angry, which would likely only escalate Mia’s response.
  • Keeps offering other activities to distract Mia and help her cope.
  • Chooses her “battles.” Rossanna doesn’t make Mia wait to have her jumper snapped up at the end. Instead, she lets Mia go right back to playing—showing some flexibility and empathy for Mia. Experiencing empathy will help Mia show empathy to others as she grows.

Think About How Your Child Is Learning These Skills

  • How does your child let you know she’s lost control?
  • How do you help her manage her strong feelings?
  • How do you manage your own feelings when you are angry, frustrated, etc? Are you able to remain calm or do you respond with intensity, too? What can you do help yourself remain calm when your child is “losing it”?

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