To create a peaceful home, parents must remain calm.
We've all been there. You leave the room for one second and the next thing you know, your kids are tearing each other's hair out. They're blaming each other for starting the incident, and you just can't take it anymore. Frustration levels are high, and you're about to explode. But you know that won't solve anything. Dr. Markham says remaining calm is the key to teaching your kids what they did wrong and how they can make it better. But how do you remain calm when you've reached your boiling point? She offers five tips.
- Stop. Drop (whatever you're doing). Breathe.
- Remind yourself that it isn't an emergency. No one is dying. Use whatever mantra works to calm yourself.
- Decrease your own anxiety by reminding yourself that you don't have to fix this. You don't have to decide who is right (which is always a mistake because it fosters resentment in the child who "loses"). You just have to prevent any violence (by getting between the kids) and restore a sense of safety with your calm presence.
- Connect physically with both children, listen to both so they feel heard, and acknowledge the views of both children.
- Then, help the kids sort out a solution: "Wow! No wonder you're upset. Sofia wants to play the game this way . . . Victoria wants to play the game that way . . . This is a tough problem . . . How will you work this out?"