Over the last few weeks we have been discussing how you can manage and prevent angry outbursts in children. Last week we covered healthy outlets for anger such as dancing to music or taking it out on a cushion. This week we have a third tip.
As a parent you’ve undoubtedly heard the phrase “time out”. Many parents employ the technique, indeed it is also common in preschools and nurseries. However, on this occasion, we are not referring to giving your child a time out, but taking one yourself!
Sometimes, no matter how hard you or your child try, anger can take over. With the best will in the world, they are young and anger can be extremely overwhelming. If they are directing that anger towards you, it can become an increasingly volatile situation. Anger can be catching! If someone is behaving in an angry manner towards you it can be very difficult to remain calm and not respond with anger yourself. Especially if this person is your own child; on top of anger you may well feel frustration, concern, fear, worry.
Most homes have some rules. Make it known that one of those rules is solving problems, concerns and upsets calmly. If your child has become angry and is directing it towards you then it is time to put this rule into action. Take a time out. Tell your child firmly (if they are below your height, crouch down; it helps to speak to them at eye level) “I want to talk about what has upset you but only when you are calm”. Then, remove yourself from the situation and don’t respond to them again until they are more composed. This is probably the most tricky part. It can be difficult to get away from your child, so, if need be, shut yourself in the bathroom! You can come out again once you hear they are calm (in other words, the shouting, thumping, kicking a screaming has stopped!). Now it’s time to discuss their problem!
It goes without saying that you must always ensure your child is safe, especially if you are shutting yourself away from them for a short time. Your house must be secure, front and back doors locked, no windows left wide open and no dangerous equipment left easily accessible (teaching granny to suck eggs, we’re sure!).
Next week we share tip four.