The good news: You have a choice.
- Stay in control–I know that’s the point right? Your child is out of control though and as the adult you need to do what it takes to maintain your calm and control. Take a deep breath. Turn on your objective mind and re-frame the situation. Remind your child of the boundaries and rules in a calm voice. If necessary, take a break and come back when you are under control.
- Refrain from arguing and threatening– These are techniques that escalate the drama rather than solve the problem. Besides, is “you’ll never come with me to the grocery store again!!” a realistic option? Your child knows it’s not… When it becomes a power struggle there is bound to be a battle to the end and you may not be the winner. If you need to discuss the situation and review rules and consequences wait until you are both calmer.
- Set up a later time to review the problem– Restate the rules and teach the appropriate behavior. This is not the time to label a child as lazy, or irresponsible or bad or any of the other negative labels that are often applied. Instead, frame this as a situation where he/she has not yet learned the necessary routine and skills. Then just as you would if he brought home a failing grade in math, set aside some time to ‘tutor’ him in the appropriate behavior.
You can prevent being the drama mama, by planning ahead and recognizing your role in the dance. Disconnect those buttons and create a proactive plan for dealing with out of control behavior.
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