Self-Soothing for Parents–Part 2

Self-Soothing for Parents Part 2  

Children get upset.

It takes experience and maturity to realize that Dad will be back at suppertime or that that really wanting a cookie does not create cookies in the cupboard (adults tend to get upset by that harsh fact as well).

Children also get mad.

So many things they want to do are out of their control.

Children usually let their parents (and sometimes the whole neighborhood) know that they are upset and angry.

How can you stay calm or calm down when your child is upset—without adding to your child’s distress?

The first thing is to accept that strong emotions are part of life. It’s okay that your child gets upset at times. It does not mean that you are a bad parent. It does not mean your child is a spoiled brat.

It often helps to acknowledge the emotion and identify it. Tentative identification is best—“wow, you sound really angry.” Say it with meaning and respect.

Dismissing your child’s reaction (“it’s nothing to get upset about”) or completely ignoring it can upset your child further.

Remain available and empathetic. If no one is getting hurt or unduly disturbed by the noise you may want let the storm rage. A dramatic (but safe) release of energy can actually aid everyone.

If you were raised in an environment where any strong emotion was repressed or expressed in dangerous and hurtful ways you may benefit from some professional help to learn and be comfortable with safe ways to express emotion.

It’s disturbing when your child is upset. Frequently, you are the cause of the upset. You said “No,” or “It’s bedtime.” You stopped your toddler from sticking a key into an electrical outlet.

Nobody likes being yelled at—especially not for doing the right thing! Here you are being a loving, responsible parent—and your child does not appreciate it!

Getting yelled at for our responsible parental actions can lead us into irresponsible behavior—we may become unduly harsh with the child or we may back off and allow the child to go on misbehaving. Both are completely understandable but not advisable.

Full disclosure: yes, I have done both, and the results were not pretty.

How can you respond?

  1. Give yourself empathy—silently or out loud. “Wow, it hurts to be yelled at for trying to protect you.”
  2. Remember you are the adult and the parent in the situation. This is part of the job. Helpful phrases from author Mary Sheedy Kurcinka include: “I do not fear your anger.” “I will help you follow the rule.”
  3. Let your child know that feelings are acceptable but that actions may not be. “You are angry with your sister. It is NOT okay to hit her.”
  4. Offer an acceptable action: “You may punch the couch cushion.”

 

Originally published on ParentingSuccessNetwork 11.27.12

http://parentingsuccessnetwork.org/parenting_tips/2012/self-soothing-its-good-for-parents-too-part-2/

 

3 thoughts on “Self-Soothing for Parents–Part 2

  1. Theodora Houlihan

    Hey There. I found your blog using msn. This is a very well written article. I will make sure to bookmark it and come back to read more of your useful info. Thanks for the post. Ill definitely comeback.

    Reply
  2. Jeff Barnscater

    Hey I am so grateful I found your web site, I really found you by error, while I was browsing on Yahoo for something else, Nonetheless I am here now and would just like to say thank you for a incredible post and a all round thrilling blog (I also love the theme/design), I dont have time to browse it all at the moment but I have saved it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please do keep up the awesome job.

    Reply
  3. Sal Squadrito

    Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it is truly informative. I am gonna watch out for brussels. Ill be grateful if you continue this in future. Lots of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers!

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *