The tips I am giving here are meant to stimulate questions, ideas and understanding to help you and your child have more resources readily available during those stressful times. What works for one family may not work for another so try to maintain kindness and creativity in your exploration. Create a plan and expected consequences together if possible. (ie. If your behavior is …… the consequence/response will be)
It is best to avoid disciplining; setting limits and delivering consequences when you are angry or in an emotionally reactive mode. The emotional intensity will permeate the disciplining action and be experienced by your child as a punishment rather than a consequence. This will cause more stress and compromise the ability for the child to learn from the experience in a positive way.
The plan you create can be tailored to the age of the child and intensity of behavior (although it is important to remember also the difference between the emotional age and the actual age of your child) Most important of all is to avoid shaming.
Here are some examples of what could be put in the plan:
I, (the parent) will not leave the room when you are upset. I will not hold you unless you ask me to do so. I will stay with you, until you are able to calm down.; We will talk together once we are both able to think and problem solve about what happened. We will respect eachother at all times and if you or I are disrespectful we will agree to apologize to that person when we are able to do so…………
MAINTAIN SAFETY FIRST - FOR YOURSELF, YOUR CHILD AND FAMILY
Safety involves taking action in the moment. This could involve you the parent taking a ‘time in’ to maintain your emotional equilibrium or it may mean you holding your child until you have both calmed down (while letting your child know this) or it may involve sitting in a room with your child while they have a tantrum…….. For ‘out of control teens , who “do not want a parent” but desparately need a consistently loving parent, the push/ pull (merging and distancing) in the relationship with you can be intense. If you can, Let the teen know that no matter what, you are their parent/guardian and you are responsible for keeping them safe and even though he/she does not like it or may see you as the ‘bad guy’ you will do whatever it takes to keep them out of harm. (which may mean calling the police on occasion) (what works for you and your child? )
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