Have your kids ever said something that causes your heart to drop into your stomach because it is so upsetting or shocking?
Kids can say all sorts of disturbing things, particularly when they are young—even words like, “I want to die!” or “I’m going to kill you!”
Sometimes these words point to a major problem that requires intervention, but often, they are the words of a child who is heated with emotions or who does not truly understand the meaning of the words they are saying.
In any case, here is a good mantra to remember for these moments: Stay calm. Be curious.
Stay calm because sometimes the adult’s reaction is much, much worse than the problem, and it gives the child too much attention for something that might not need attention.
When they realize they get your attention by saying horrifying things, they might amp up on attention-seeking behavior.
On the other hand, some...
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...
When a classmate insults your child, what should you say?
Question: During a play date, my friend’s seven-year-old daughter announced: “I’m fat! Look at my tummy! Why does it stick out?”
We were all horrified, especially because she is tiny—maybe even underweight. I think she was just saying it to see our reaction. What should our reaction have been?
Answer: Here is a great mantra to remember when children say something concerning:
Stay calm. Be curious.
Stay calm because sometimes the adult’s reaction is much, much worse than the problem, and it gives the child too much attention for something that might not need attention. Beyond that, responding in horror to issues of body size or looks—either through gasps or words—communicates to the child that you believe being “fat” (or “ugly” or whatever the word might be) is something to be terribly upset by—and this can cause a cascade of problems down the line.
What if the child later struggles with weight?...