Tuesday, September 4, 2012


This is a time of intense emotional development.
Your child is feeling strong emotions: frustration, anger, rage.
Your child is venting, and has no coping skills beyond verbal expression.
When they were two or three this looked like a temper tantrum, their venting was usually physical.
Be thankful, verbal expression of strong emotion is much more acceptable than outright violence, if they have not moved beyond that in their twos and threes.

Discipline calmly.
And remember your child still has little impulse control, and is feeling out of control.
Try to look at this not as misbehavior, but as mistaken behavior.
Do not let anger, hurt feelings, strong emotions interfere with your ability to be the adult. 
Don’t let your feelings become the focus of the discipline.
Let the child’s words and any hurt feelings of your own flow over you.
Respond, don’t react.
Never engage in a shouting match.
Model calmness and respectful behavior

Separate the content from the rant.       
Try to identify the triggers, or other patterns to the behavior.
Then find ways to help yourself and your child recognize them before they happen.

Acknowledge the child’s emotions. Acknowledge how it makes you feel.
Talk to your child as a child not as a hardened criminal.
 “I see that you are feeling _________ right now about ___________.”                                                                               
Balance love and limits.
“I love you, but I won’t listen to you when you speak to me this way.” 
“You don’t have to agree with me, or even like me right now, but you will be respectful.”
Choose a mantra and use it over and over and over. Encourage every adult who experiences your child’s disrespect to use the same words. Only say it once. Only say it calmly.
Disengage: Turn away, leave the room, stop the car, leave the grocery store.

Get past the outburst.
Let your child know such behavior serves only to end negotiations.
Have conversations about respectfulness when your child is not out of control.
Suggest ways your child can deal with their emotions in positive and respectful ways.
Remind yourself and your child that the reward of respectful behavior is relationship.

Help them find ways to regain control, so they can respond rather than react.
“There is nothing wrong with being angry, everyone feels that way, it’s what you do with your emotions that can make them hurtful and dangerous.”
Do rewinds. “How could you have said the same thing more respectfully?”
“Our family treats people, pets, and possessions with respect.”
Attention to bad behavior increases bad behavior.
In a power struggle, the child will always win.

Positive attention will always have a longer lasting effect on a child’s behavior.
Catch your child being respectful, and let them know it. Enthusiasm counts.
Consequences must be immediate, consistent, and powerful (mean a lot to the child).
Time out should be used only to regain control – there are times, you may need to let your child know that they have made you so angry, or hurt you so badly that you feel out of control and need to put yourself in time out to regain your control.

Biblically, disrespect is the primary root of disobedience.
Adam and Eve did not respect God’s command, Cain and Abel….
Make respect your one non-negotiable standard.
Proverbs 13:13; Deuteronomy 5:16; 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12; Galatians 6:7

Crider, Alice. Focus on the Family Magazine ©2009
Davis, Jorja. BAEd, MSLIS, MEd (ECE) http://nana911.blogspot.com
Kazdin, Alan, M. D., Yale University Parenting Center and Child Conduct Center
Offut, Richard, Psy. D., Practice of Clinical Psychology with Children, Adolescents and Adults. Smyrna GA

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