Monday, March 14, 2016

Why I Stopped Talking to my Son when he was Angry

Why I Stopped Talking to my Son when he was Angry

It is really challenging to stay calm when your child is having an angry moment; but believe me, it's what gets you the most peaceful results. There are times that my son has some tough behavioral breakdowns that can drive me to lose it. The thing is, when I don’t stay calm, it only makes matters worse and then I feel like a bad parent at the end of the day. I do my best to practice what I preach.  Here are four steps that help me stay peaceful and in control so that my son’s anger doesn’t become my own:

   1. Breathe!!
It helps to calm my mind and allows me to think in a rational way. I usually ask myself while I take the moment to breath, “What do I need to do to help my son?”
2. Connect 
He is not being bad.  Rather, he is acting out because he cannot appropriately deal with his anger and frustrations in the moment.

 3. Don’t Take it Personally 
I have to keep reminding myself that this is not a personal attack and absolutely not a reflection of me as a parent.

4. Give Calm Cues  
Instead of getting sucked into his anger I calmly repeated every so often what I wanted him to do.  “When you get calm, I will talk to you.”

I have to remind myself that he needs me to help him work through this difficult situation that he is experiencing. If I allow myself to get sucked into his anger spiral I will not be able to help him at all.   Instead, I will escalate his angry situation and turn it into mine. I have to talk myself through it because believe me, getting through these steps and staying calm is not easy. However, as I have experienced before, staying calm is so worth the end result of helping my child. It allows me to teach and show him by my own example how to stay calm when things make you angry or frustrated. 
    As I was practicing these techniques today I had to do something to distract myself from engaging as he was screaming and acting out. I kept reminding myself that if I stayed calm, he would get there too. His screaming lasted several minutes and I could see he wanted me to engage, but I stuck it out and gave him calm cues every so often. "When you get calm I will talk to you" is what I kept repeating in a calm voice.  I suddenly heard his cry go from one of anger and rage to one of sadness and I knew the release was coming. He looked at me and said "I need a hug!!"  

    It was definitely challenging staying calm because I believe we are wired to be reactive, but the connection and trust we are building with each other is so worth the effort. 

By, Margarita Daskalakis

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