Talking to an Angry KidOct 17, 2023
Have you ever tried to reason with an angry kid?
Chances are, you have.
And chances are, you know just how ineffective it is!
But an angry kid doesn’t mean all hope is lost.
Instead of trying to get through to them in the heat of the moment, here are 4 steps to having a conversation that’s actually productive:
Step 1: Assess the situation. Is your child hysterical? Are you ready to blow a gasket? STOP EVERYTHING. Take space from each other and wait until you’re both calm before proceeding.
“It looks like we are both pretty upset. I’ll try again when we’re calm.”
Step 2: Validate your child’s emotions. Whatever they express, no matter how wackadoodle or complete BS it is, validate them. This doesn’t mean you agree with them; it just means you’re showing them that their feelings are ok, real, and acknowledged.
“It makes perfect sense that you’re so angry, knowing you think doing homework is stupid.”
There may be multiple conversations where all you do is validate them. Don’t rush it - wait for a shift in the energy between you before moving on. When your child feels seen and heard enough, things will soften, slow down, and defenses will relax. Now is the time for Step 3.
Step 3: Ask reflective questions. Help your child explore their emotions and choices with no judgment or shame and no need for a lesson to emerge. It’s about them discovering themselves and nothing more.
“What made you do that? Why do you suppose that upset you so much?”
Step 4: Ask future-focused questions. Help them find a solution if they want it.
“How can you take care of yourself next time this happens? What do you want to try next?”
It’s more work than you’ve probably seen modeled or even considered doing! But it matters because effective parenting only happens within the context of a strong parent/child relationship.
As a parent coach, I help my clients build strong relationships with their kids so their parenting can be as effective as possible. Our kids are actually receptive to our guidance - when we’ve built a strong relationship as the foundation.
This work isn’t easy, and that’s where I come in. I help you build these skills and consistently make the shifts that create a strong relationship with your kid. It starts with a Discovery Call, where you get to share what’s going on with your family, and I help you identify a plan to improve things. We will also talk about what it looks like to work together more. Ready? Click here to book your free call.
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