When kids (and adults) experience tangled and confusing emotions that are difficult to express, what often comes out is anger. It feels vulnerable to be anxious, ashamed, sad, embarrassed, disappointed, discouraged, overwhelmed, confused, hurt or rejected. A typical response is to self-protect by avoiding or hiding those emotions under a layer of anger. We may not even be aware of those emotions. Unfortunately, when what we show is our anger, that’s usually what we get back from others, and it escalates the conflict instead of solving it.
Helping kids understand this emotional dynamic can be a challenge. We’ve designed a fun activity for you, adaptable for different ages or learning styles to equip your kids with the insight they’ll need for less meltdowns now, and healthy relationships in the future.
Parents want to be able to help their kids calm down when conflict happens. So it can be quite discouraging when conflicts spiral out of control. If screaming matches are normal at your house, or even if they are infrequent but still troublesome, here are three developmental stages to consider. Whether you have a toddler or a teen, we’ll offer practical tips to help you teach your kids to calm down so they can solve problems well.
Does this sound familiar? Picture yourself standing, hands on hips at the front door saying (maybe loudly, even): “C’mon, kids. It’s time to go. Kids…. Kids…. It’s time to go!!! You need to listen to me! Get moving – NOW!” Does this pattern repeat itself every time your kids need to make a transition?
It can be tough for some kids to simply come to a meal or come in from playing outside, let alone get organized to get into the car. The busier your schedule, the more times you have to get your kids away from what they are doing and on to the next thing. Since these transitions become the “bookends” of each activity in your day, they tend to create repeated patterns of either teamwork or power struggles.
When a child becomes so focused on a favorite activity that they just can’t seem to pull away, it may become an exercise in frustration for parents. Suddenly, Mom or Dad may find themselves heading directly toward power struggles and conflict as they attempt to move their child onto the next activity.
A mom who had taken the Discipline That Connects online course recently shared some strategies for creating peace in the midst of what had become a repeatedly challenging situation. Her daughter, Karina, 5 years old, loves to read and sometimes getting her to transition to bedtime became a power struggle. Read to learn how Laura was able to calmly and wisely help her daughter transition to bedtime without conflict, while teaching her some important lessons in the process.
Everyone would agree that loving our children is one of the most important things a parent can do.
But sometimes expressing that love isn’t as easy as it sounds. Sarafina wrote about a breakthrough she had in learning to connect with an extremely angry child:
Parents sometimes feel like hostages to the intense demands of their children, intimidated into submission with the threat of “the big gun” – a deafening meltdown. One of our online course participants asked for help:
Our 3 1/2 year old son often wants a specific plate or cup. So if we set him up with one that he doesn’t like, he can be very vocal about it. Sometimes our initial reaction is something like “It doesn’t matter if you have the blue cup or the orange cup. Why can’t you be flexible & move on?!?! Get over it!” But perhaps he wants to exercise his choice & preference.
I’ve heard a lot of encouraging stories from parents during coaching sessions, but even I was shocked at this one.
We can hardly believe it’s 2015 already! Before we dive into a year of new blog posts, we thought we’d dwell for just a moment on some of your favorites from 2014. Here are the ten most-clicked parenting tips of 2014.
P.S. If you know a friend or relative who might benefit from some Connected Families insights, this would be a GREAT post to share with them!
Simply stated, kids have tantrums because they pay off. In some convoluted sort of way they get what they want. Even if it means they lose their cool and wear themselves out. The challenge for a parent is determining what exactly a child might need in the midst of an all-out emotional outburst. What they want may not be what it appears at face value to be. For example, even if the flailing tantrum at the store does not get them the object of the tantrum, the child is still likely meeting a need for intense attention, for power, and for control. So if a child is lacking good attention, or feels out of control, a tantrum might be just the thing the child needs in order to get some attention or feel in control.
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Fists clench. Ears turn red. Lips quiver. The tiny chest heaves to draw in a breath and then — “NOOOOOOOO!!”
When your child starts working up to a tantrum, those tell-tale warning signs can make an explosion seem expected, or even inevitable. But while a meltdown might seem predictable, it doesn’t have to be inevitable.