Do you have a child whose frustration level escalates into smashed Lego creations, ripped up homework, kicked doors and explosive hate filled language? Do you have a child that melts into angry tears, sobbing inconsolably?
How do you deal with this? “We don’t throw or toys!” “Go to your room!” “You have hurt your sister!”
Parents try consequences, time outs, physical restraints, but nothing seems to work. The behaviours appear to get worse; not only your child’s behaviour but your behaviour too.
“He must have an anger problem.”
The whole family is suffering.
First, we must begin to realise that behind every behaviour is an emotion or need. We must understand behaviour is communication. Mostly your child is saying that I am feeling something soooo big I cannot handle it, and this is how I am communicating it to you….hitting, slamming doors, crying, lying on the floor in a sobbing bundle.
What your child needs is not a consequence, but a way out of the behaviour.
Work on your big emotions. Your ability to deal with anxieties, frustrations, and anger will naturally give your child clues and models for dealing with his.
Check in with yourself, press the pause button and find your quiet zone.
Look past the behaviour to the emotion or need.
Acknowledge the emotion or need. “You are really angry right now. Your sister broke your train track, and you felt like throwing all the pieces. I think you wish you did not break the whole thing. It is not easy making good choices when we are so upset.”
Help to set boundaries. “Let’s make this better together. What do we need to say to your sister? How can we this right? What have you learned from this?”
The most important aspect is to connect on an emotional level to help your child deal with his emotions.
Further counselling support is available through Thrive for Change with Ellen Crump PhD in our Dundas office. Give Ellen a call for counselling today.