Don't Climb the Ladder
Many have been there at one time or another. Your child does some type of unwanted behavior, and you respond by yelling, scolding, or lecturing. Your child then reacts by yelling back, stomping off, and slamming their door. Tension escalates and before you know it someone is crying or upset and as a parent, we often leave the situation upset with ourselves for how we reacted to them. Times of escalated emotions for both you and/or your child are not the time for teaching, negotiating, reasoning, or punishing. It is in these moments where we need to re-ground ourselves and work to bring our child back to a regulated state before responding to the situation. Remaining calm during difficult times can be very difficult, but it is also very important for parents. Remaining calm will allow you to think before you act.
So how do you regroup before both you and your child are emotionally charged? Here are a few ideas on how to respond.
· Don't yell or talk over them to be heard. Practice reflective listening or remain silent to allow them to express their feelings. Reflection of feeling is a helping response that accurately identifies the child’s emotions based on their verbal and nonverbal messages. Calmly saying things such as “I can see that you are sad/angry that your friends can’t come over” will help them to identify how they are feeling.
· Validate their feelings, not their actions. Identify and reflect your child’s feelings to help them understand how they are feeling.
· Be aware of your body language. If they're younger, get to their level.
· Respect their personal space & focus on what they can do - avoid using the word no.
Once the storm has passed, we can focus on teaching healthy coping skills.
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