• We are the adults. Our children feed off our energy.
• We change the dynamic in the house.
• We chose whether we escalate a situation or not.
Before we can talk to them, we need to put out the emotional fire. Bring their upper brain back on track.
Offer a hug: it is not giving them positive attention for being “naughty” they need our help regulating their emotions. Given time through our support they will have better control of their behaviour. A gift for life!
1. Acknowledge their emotions.
“Wow, you are really angry, you really wanted to keep on playing at the park and mummy says it’s time to go.”
“You are so frustrated, all your friends are going to the park and I said not till after dinner.”
2. Don’t try and change their emotions.
We don’t need to try and change their mind; they are allowed to be upset. So many arguments start by us trying to use logic and reasoning with our children, we are the adults, stick to your limits and allow your child not to agree with you. Acknowledging how they are feeling is not the same as agreeing with them.
“You really want a cookie now, and I said after dinner. They are so delicious and it’s hard to wait.”
There is no place for the argument to go, you have acknowledged their feelings and how hard it is for them to wait. We do not have to state our limit again, they know it, they just want our understanding.
3. We don’t need to join them in the pit of despair.
Just because our child is throwing a fit, it does not mean we need to join them there and lose our cool. As hard as it might be, that is their emotion, not ours, they really need for us to remain cool and calmly in charge. Stick to your limit and help them through their outburst.
When the outburst is finished, here are a few words to get you started in re-connecting. Keep the communication open between you.
“That doesn’t sound like you, I’m curious to what is going on for you.”
“How can I help you next time?”
“Next time you get really angry/upset/frustrated what can we do differently?”
And sometimes no words are needed…. just a big hug and move on.
Only when our children do not feel bad, shamed or guilty for having a normal human reaction can they start to take accountability for their actions. They need to have a safe place to unload their big emotions and know we won’t judge them.
By sticking calmly to our limits we remain in charge, parents get caught up in trying to change our children’s emotions. That is not our job. Our children are allowed and need to feel whatever they like.
When our children feel truly understood and connected it builds on the strength of our relationship and that is where the true influence lies.