When your kid is already upset and then they have to fight you to justify their feelings, it’s a sure way to send them over the edge. Here are some common mistakes parents make when trying to diffuse their children’s anger:
You tell them there’s nothing to be upset about. If someone is upset, then by default, they have something to be upset about. Never tell a child that there is no reason for him or her to be upset.
You talk more than you listen. You can’t figure out why your child is upset unless you shut your mouth and actually listen.
You deny their emotions. Don’t automatically argue the opposite viewpoint.
You don’t empathize. Ask why your child is upset:
- “Are you upset that I wouldn’t let you go to your friend’s house?”
- “Are you upset that you couldn’t watch your show?”
- “Are you angry with your brother for taking your stuff without asking?”
- Don’t crazy-make your child. Ask why they are angry.
5. You add “but”. Saying, “I see you’re disappointed but…” erases everything you just said.
You’d be surprised how much kids will calm down when you validate their feelings rather than telling them they’re wrong, stupid, or crazy. Never tell them they shouldn’t feel what they’re feeling, and never argue the opposite.
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