Forgive people. Even if they do not deserve your forgiveness, you deserve to be free of resentment, sadness, and anger.
These negative emotions feel bad—to you. They are appropriate, at times, but carrying them around forever will degrade your life. Your negative feelings might have no effect on the person with whom you are upset, but they will certainly enslave you to the harm that was done to you in the past.
Each time you think of your anger, sadness, or resentment, you inflict that painful emotion on yourself. Someone else might have inflicted that pain upon you initially, but you are one who continues to inflict it on yourself.
Why keep punishing yourself for what someone else did to you?
Choose a more powerful path. Feel your negative emotions. Acknowledge them. Accept them.
Then, when you are ready, allow them to be a voice of your needs by asking yourself: “What do I need to feel better, and what can I do to get that need met?”
Another good question is:...
Do you revisit conflict when tempers have cooled?
Or, when you child has a giant emotional meltdown, do you breathe a sigh of relief after it passes and go about your business?
Don't poke a bear, right?
The truth is, the gold is in the second half.
When you and your child resist a conflict with clear heads, you can find solutions.
This is where growth happens, and where skills are learned.
It is where you and your child can begin to appreciate each other's perspectives, and it is where you can find solutions absent the flood of emotions that were couding your thoughts in round one.
It’s hard for anyone—much less a child—to take constructive feedback when flooded with negative emotions.
This is because our thoughts and our emotions always match: You cannot think positive, constructive thoughts when you are overwhelmed with negative, destructive emotions.
So, if your child is angry or frustrated, hold off on initiating “teachable moment” conversations or attempting to shift your child’s perspective.
Wait until they have had time to regroup emotionally.
Save the discussions about your expectations, the child’s questionable behavior, or the child’s bad attitude for later when they might actually be able to hear you.
When your children are upset, your best bet is to meet them with patience. If the situation calls for you to set boundaries, do so, but remain steadfast and calm in your word choice, demeanor, and tone of voice.
Let your child know you are listening and patient by saying things...
Plenty of adults know the feeling of having a big emotional burst of anger, only to later regret their words or actions. Most of aren’t taught skills for navigating these big emotions, so even though we later feel shame, we struggle to “control” our anger well into our adult years.
Anger is a big emotion. It is always accompanied with tension, so when it bursts, it can be a flood. And while anger is not a bad emotion (after all, it is appropriate to feel anger when we are mistreated), I think we can all agree that life would be a bit better if we didn’t unintentionally hurt people due to explosive words or behaviors.
Teaching kids how to stay in control, even when they are angry, is a big task, particularly because most adults are not taught this skill. It requires more than just one or two conversations, and it is usually a years-long work-in-progress.
We can start, though, by asking them to reflect back on how the build-up feels. If...
Instead of feeling guilty for snapping at your kids when you need them to HURRY, try this …
Communicate to them in advance about your need to be on time.
Say something like:
“I have a lot of things on my plate. Sometimes I feel anxious about getting places on time, and I worry that if I miss a deadline, the entire day will fall apart. Getting places on time helps me stay in control of all the balls I’m juggling. When I feel anxious about getting places on time, I tend to snap at the people slowing me down. That’s why I sometimes yell at you when I am trying to get you to move faster to get out of the house. I am working on staying calm. You can help me by getting dressed and out of the house quickly.”
Even if you do snap at them later (after all, most kids don’t exactly have a sense of urgency), you will feel better about how you have communicated with your children. And as they grow older, they will better understand you, and they will be more...
When you find yourself trying to resolve a conflict that seems to be spinning out of control, stop and ask the other person this question ...
"What do you need so that this relationship feels good?"
You know what it feels like to be in a conflict that is heading south, or spinning out of control.
It turns into a he said/she said. One person says, “You did this,” and the other person says, “Oh, well you do this.”
You can feel it when it happens.
To stop this downward cycle, ask this simple question: “What do you need so that this relationship feels good?”
It’s likely that the other person will respond with something like, “I need for you to stop being a jerk,” or some other insulting statement that blames you.
Instead of retaliating, take a breath, and clarify by speaking about your needs with non-blaming “I-statements."
Say something like,
“I need security in my life. I need to feel stable. Sometimes when you spend...
We recently received some pushback about an article in which we advised parents to set boundaries around the way they let their children talk to them and behave toward them. We appreciate the feedback and the opportunity to clarify our advice …
In this article, we gave parents advice for addressing children who are rolling their eyes or generally being rude and snarky. We suggested that parents can say something like ...
“I don’t know if you realize this, but you have been rolling your eyes at me a lot. It doesn’t make me feel good, and you should know that it makes me want to stop spending time with you. What exactly do you need from me that would make our relationship work better for you?”
Some readers worried that implementing our advice could make their children feel abandoned or cause them to become “people pleasers.”
Our response is this: We are inviting you to disengage from disrespectful behavior. We are not...
It's hard for anyone, much less a child, to take constructive feedback and listen to reason or act in a way that is logical when they are flooded with negative emotions.
You likely have personal experience with this—when you've been so upset that you just couldn't think straight.
There is science to this—a reason you cannot think straight when you're flooded with emotions.
The part of your brain that is emotional and reactive is very different than the part of your brain that is systematic and logical. You cannot tap into the logical part of your brain when the emotional, reactive part of your brain has taken over.
Your thoughts and your emotions always match.
When you are experiencing a huge, negative doomsday, destructive emotion, you are naturally flooded with equally catastrophic thoughts.
When you understand that it isn't possible to have a reasonable discussion when emotions are running high, you can change your approach...