The Advice You Need to Help Your Kids Control Their Reckless Emotions
If you find that your child has been lashing out lately and you are having trouble with finding your footing with the right way to handle the situation, worry no further! Here you will learn how to communicate with your child when he or she is experiencing intense frustration or aggression. The most important thing to understand as a parent is that this is a completely natural experience for your child as he or she is still learning the ropes with controlling their emotions. It is instinctive for humans to use anger as a defense mechanism to protect themselves when they are feeling either emotional or physical forms of pain.
Recognize Their Feelings
Your child will not feel like he or she needs to defend their feelings if you take the time to validate them. This means acknowledging their feelings and letting your child know that you are aware of the feelings they are experiencing. This is likely to soften your child’s anger as they will be in a space of understanding and safety, which also teaches your child empathy. By discounting your child’s feelings, or discounting their experience, you actually intensify their anger as they will be driven to validate their sense of self.
Listening to how your child feels without interrupting them or defending yourself will lead to the creation of a sort of vent for your child’s anger. As long as your child does not feel it is necessary to prove that their feelings are valid and fair, they will certainly become calmer. Empathy has a science behind it – it encourages the regulation of cortisol production in the body and this fight or flight chemical is the chemical that emerges during emotional stress. Be consistently receptive and open to your child’s emotions and they will learn to behave more critically than emotionally next time. It is a learning curve for your child, and every child will take their own time until they work through the process fully. Ultimately, an understanding that your child’s behavior affects their body chemistry.
Teach Them How To Problem-Solve
When your child creatively approaches problem-solving, a neurological tracking of sorts occurs. The more practice your child gets with asserting their problem-solving skills, the less emotionally reactive they will become. Their neurological pathways strengthen with use and this, in turn, helps them to gain control over their impulses – a skill they will carry through to adulthood. The manner to do this is to help your child to address situations by using their own thought process, assisted by your guidance. Guide them by asking questions like “What options do you think there are for you to solve this problem?” and “What would happen if you did A instead of B?”. This helps your child come up with solutions on their own, and to be proud of themselves for having done so!
Establish Standards of Behavior
Validating and acknowledging your child’s emotions when they are acting out is one thing, but allowing them is another. Your child needs to understand that although you recognize what they are feeling, they cannot allow those feelings to affect their behavior. Teach them that they cannot act on those feelings and that bad behavior is not acceptable. The common rules to follow when you are upset is not to engage in disrespect, hitting, throwing anything or breaking things. First point out what bad behavior is, and then establish punishments for performing in that manner. Ask them for ideas on what the consequences of bad behavior should be, and you will find that when they contribute to the punishment structure, they are likely to follow the rules. All of this teaches them to contain their emotions safely and in a healthy manner.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
After all, you have done to validate your child’s feelings, establish rules for behavior and even putting together a punishment scheme for bad behavior, some attention needs to be given to helping your child learn how to calm down when they become frustrated, angry or upset. Teaching your child breathing techniques, the use of stress management tools and even simply to count slowly when they are upset, will all help them to find calm when bad feeling surge within them. You cannot escape anger, frustration or be upset – these are natural feelings that they are certain to experience. If they learn how to control and calm these emotions they have the upper hand, always! Relaxation techniques change neural pathways and affect impulse control in a positive way.
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