While we may wish to protect our children from all situations of danger or stress, in reality they will have to work to have control of their own lives. Anger is a common response to such a situation and can be a frightening and yet inevitable emotion. The important part is knowing how to react when we feel overwhelmed with he emotion of anger. It is easy to go from “zero to sixty” when we get angry. Sometimes we get angry after a hard day, siblings screaming over a game, stepping on a toy left on the floor, etc. As children are incredible imitators, they often emulate the response to stress that they witness. Consequently, we must model appropriate behavior for our children while discussing with them alternatives to losing their temper. We must understand the value of preserving our self-esteem in even the most difficult situations.
Responding to an Angry Child
- stay calm
- don’t give in
- help instill problem solving skills
- time -outs
- praise appropriate behavior
- avoid triggers
While we work to control our own anger, we must help our children understand the value of controlling theirs. Parents are often surprised by how easily their children may become frustrated about minor incidents. Often children learn much about their reactions from their environment. Whether in your home, school, or television, they are sponges that learn how to deal with situations through mirroring. It is important to discuss openly with them what their trigger is and how to deal with difficult situations.
~ TURNING STONEchoice
One way to assist you in communicating to your children is to emphasize their ability to control their own living. When you frame conversations by helping them understand the impact of their choices, children are willing to interact with you. For example, rather than saying, “Sit down and study for that test you have tomorrow,” interact to help them understand the ramifications of not studying: How they may receive a poor grade: How it can create an unfortunate habit for them. Being reminded that they have a choice whether to do their homework or not but should understand the rationale for not doing it and the subsequent ramifications.
- making ultimatums
- making threats
- making assumptions
- name calling
- limiting their power
The language that you use with your children can limit your effectiveness for parenting. Your tone and mannerism also impacts how they “hear” you. Children want to be validated by having their parent hear them and show them respect.
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One of the frustrations of daily living with children is the little “spats” that arise over every day routines such as getting ready for bed, putting on a coat in cold weather, putting shoes away, putting away bikes, etc. Many times children are given “demands” to do something and the result is balking, procrastination, stamping of feet, and loud words.
A better way, rather than making demands, is to allow the child to choose between two related choices. For example, when it is time for bed, say, “Do you want to wear your doggy PJs or your cat PJs? You decide.” For putting away shoes, you could ask, “Do you want to put your shoes under your bed or in the closet? You choose.” For putting away the bike, say, “Do you want to put your bike on the porch or in the garage? You decide.” Either way the purpose is accomplished.
If the child comes up with a third alternative, listen respectfully. If it is doable, validate that is good thinking. If the alternative is not doable, indicate you have given two choices from which to decide.
By allowing children to make choices, they become empowered and learn they do have some control in their lives.
If you want your child to communicate more openly with you, then let them talk, no matter how shocking. It sounds so simple and yet it is so hard for many parents to accomplish. Just let them talk. Consider these tips on keeping communication lines open with your children:
- Ask your child what they think instead of telling them what you think.
- Avoid interrogating your child.
- Tell stories about yourself growing up.
- Share quality family time.
- Respect your differences – Although you may not always agree with your child’s decisions or views, it is important to understand and appreciate his/her perspective and reasoning.
Many parents aren’t consciously aware that they are their child’s first teacher. Parenting goes beyond just being a role model and provider. Our children have to be taught continually and reinforced that they are worthwhile and loved. We strive for our children to be happy in their choices and feel good about themselves.
This holiday season is a wonderful time of year when we celebrate faith, family and the tradition of giving.
…Take time to slow down and relish the simple things.
…Take time during the rush of the holidays to enjoy the things in life that really matter.
…Take time to savor the quiet moments spent with friends and loved ones.
We at TURNING STONEchoice hope that the true meaning of the holiday season fills everyone’s heart and home with many blessings.
“Kindness in words creates confidence. Kindness in thinking creates profoundness. Kindness in giving creates love.” – Lao Tzu
“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.”
― Maya Angelou
Wishing you a joyous holiday season and a New Year filled with peace and happiness!
One of the most important characteristics of teaching children is to show respect for their views and to let them have some say in their choices that surround them. Many parents take the word “discipline” to mean punishment. Discipline doesn’t have to hurt. As parents, if we can see the word discipline to mean teaching instead of punishment we can help teach our children to become better human beings.
Here are some tips to teach children to respect.
Love – Children need lots of love and approval.
Communicate – Take time to listen and consider their point of view.
Set Clear Limits – Telling children in advance what is expected and what the rules are helps prevent conflicts before they happen.
Be Consistent – This is the key to effective consequences. Don’t say you will do something unless you are prepared to carry it through.
Check Yourself – If you are angry or frustrated take a time out for yourself. Take a deep breath, count to ten and calm down. Once you are in a calm state of mind then address the situation.
Parenting is one of the best and most rewarding jobs in the world. It is also a tough, 24-hours a day job. The most important key to successful parenting is knowledge, knowing what your children need, knowing how to deal with them in different situations, and knowing how to take care of their needs.
Learning more about parenting and child development can make a world of difference. To learn more check out Skills to Build a Secure Child workshop series.
~ TURNING STONEchoice
Ending a life is incredibly, incredibly tragic. It represents a lost battle with mental illness. Where it is different is that suicide is a choice. Suicide is a terrible decision made by someone whose pain is so great that they can no longer hold it, and feel they have no other option in life but to end it. They forget all the wonderful things in their lives because they are so consumed by the depression and by the feelings of not being worthy. It’s a decision you can’t take back, and a decision that will affect your friends and family forever. It is not taken lightly.
Losing a person to suicide may feel like a waste. For someone looking in, it does seem like a waste—especially in the case of Williams, who was a brilliantly funny man and a talented actor. People who are severely depressed can’t see past their failures, even if they’ve been successful. Life, however, is never wasted. Williams did things in his life that touched people to their core.
About 90% of people who commit suicide have some kind of mental illness that goes untreated or undertreated.
The national suicide prevention lifeline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255 or http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Depression and Suicide Resources
American Foundation for Suicide
About Teen Depression
Depression Fact Sheet
Talking with Kids About the News
~ TURNING STONEchoice