Everyone gets angry, and parents can find ways to express their anger in ways that aren’t hurtful to their children. If your child does something that makes you angry, here are a few things to do before you respond to her.
- Calm down, take a deep breath and count to ten slowly.
- Go to another room for a few minutes to give yourself and your child time to cool down.
- Talk with someone to get perspective and creative ideas for responding to the situation.
- Think about what you’re feeling and whether your anger is really about what your child has done.
- Apologize if you say something you regret.
- Avoid making threats to your child.
- Watch your tone of voice and the words you use.
- Wait before deciding what the consequences will be.
- Do not use physical force with your child.
Negotiating With Your Child
When negotiating with your child, remember that you’re trying to reach an agreement, not start an argument. If you’re asking him to do something, rather than asking in a way that he can answer with a ‘no,’ give him a choice between two options. If an older child is resistant, get him involved and ask his opinion: “How would you manage this yourself?” Explain your reasoning and point of view and remember that you have the final say. As your child gets older, he has a need for control and independence, so ask him questions he can say ‘yes’ to and give him a chance to make a choice.
Cooperative Problem Solving
One way to deal with disagreements between you and your adolescent or teen is by using a common problem-solving approach:
- State what the problem is.
- Find out how your adolescent or teen feels about the problem.
- Listen to her feelings until she’s said everything she needs to say.
- Show that you’ve heard what your teen has said.
- Share your feelings and ask your teen to say what she’s heard.
- Brainstorm a lot of ideas for possible ways to solve the problem.
- Agree on a solution.