As parents, we set out with the greatest of intentions, telling ourselves that when our children are badly behaved, we will handle the situation with ease, knowing exactly what to do. Yet, this is rarely the case when faced with the reality of a screaming toddler or a defiant teenager that is trying their best to test your patience. However, there are ways to handle difficult situations like these, and by following our helpful tips all about dealing with angry kids, you can find ways of minimising the stress and creating long-term solutions that will make both of you happy.
Logic won’t work
Whether your child is a toddler or a teenager, trying to hold a logical discussion with them in the midst of an angry flare up is likely to fail. When tempers flare, questioning their behaviour will only exacerbate matters, so if the child is very young but over two years old, try the time out technique. This involves telling them you are going to place them on the bottom step of the stairs and explain why. Tell them they are to stay there for two minutes (or more if they are older – three minutes for a three year old, four for a four year old and so on). Return to them when the two minutes have finished and explain to them again why they are there. Tell them that you love them and ask them to say sorry. If they refuse, try the technique again. With teenagers you cannot just plonk them on a time out step and expect them to stay there. Instead, refuse to argue with them and wait until they have calmed down until you can discuss with them why what they have done is not acceptable.
Of course, sometimes this is easier said than done, but never shout at your children as this is the first sign that you have lost control. People often find themselves reflecting the reactions of others in an argument so if one person raises their voice then the other person usually finds they do too. So remain calm, after all your child will find it very difficult to hold an argument with themselves!
Never Resort to Violence
In no circumstances is it acceptable to hit or push your children. Any act of violence can cause irreparable damage to a child’s psychological well-being and is certain to create a rift in your relationship. To see an adult lose control in this way is very frightening for someone who relies on you for their care. If you find yourself getting angry or begin to feel as if you are losing control, leave the situation immediately. Even a few moments distanced from the situation can help you calm down and return with a level head.
Give appropriate punishments
Don’t give punishments out of spite or anger and always be realistic with your punishments. If you present unrealistic consequences such as banning television for a month, you are most likely going to submit after a short amount of time and your child will then know that any punishments you set are just not going to last. Equally, if you set punishments in the heat of the moment you could fall into the trap of “stacking consequences” meaning that as you child gets angrier, the more you threaten to take away, which will only serve to make your child angrier. Think about what you want your child to learn from their behaviour rather than how mad they are making you feel.
Give your Child the Opportunity to Apologise
If you thought nobody would ever accept your apology, no matter how sincere you are, you may think, “Why bother behaving at all?” Show your child that the chance to apologise, is always there, and this should apply to children of all ages. Don’t remain angry at them indefinitely, bringing up past bad behaviour long after the event. Let them know that despite their actions you will always love them. This way they know they can come to you if they ever get into a sticky situation and they will realise that although they may be disciplined for bad behaviour, you will be always be there to support and care for them.