Imagine this: Your child suddenly bursts out. He lost his toy to his brother. He doesn’t get the toy he wants. He cries at the top of his lungs.
Or he’s taking shower and refuses to come out of the bathroom. He wants to play with bath toys longer than you have expected. If you try to end his fun time, he screams at you.
Let me ask you this: “What would you normally do?”
Our normal reaction as a parent is, first and foremost, to ask the child stop crying or screaming. Or we will “threaten” the child by removing his privileges if he doesn’t do what we say. Or worse, we raise our voice and start getting angry.
Does this work? Most of the time no. Even if it works, the child does it NOT out of his own willingness.
You’re not alone. I used to do that too. When I did this, what I got was resilience. I could feel that the tension between my child and me intensified. The result? Two more unhappy souls in the world!
But I later discovered a strategy that works wonderfully. When I apply this strategy on my child, the tension dissolves magically and the child is more receptive to my request and he’s more willing to listen to me. I can feel that the resilience in him melts as he finds out that I am actually on his side.
Want to know what the strategy is? The strategy has three words and you apply this when your child needs to express a strong feeling, especially the negative ones.
The strategy is: Acknowledge his feelings.
This is the three-word strategy that I talked about. Let see some examples.
Instead of saying, “You come out now and get dressed or there will be no more shower for you next time.” You say, “I can see you are having fun playing with water. Is that why you want to stay longer the bathroom? Okay, I will give you five more minutes and after that you will get dressed.”
Instead of saying, “Why both of you always want to play the same toy? Can’t one of you play something else?” You say, “Wow, you really like that toy. You feel mad because your brother is playing the toy and you can’t.”
The strategy works for me and you have to try it out. Remember, to reduce tension and to teach your child to deal with feelings, the first step is not to offer solutions but to acknowledge his feelings.
Need help to manage your child’s anger, we recommend Child Anger Revealed: Your Ultimate Guide to Deal With Them Effectively.