- Stay calm: - It’s not easy to keep cool when our kids are being rude. Meeting them with disrespect sends the wrong message. Take a few minutes , take a deep breath and try counting to 10 or tell yourself “this is not an emergency”
- Try to understand the behaviour Look at things from your child’s perspective , were they caught off guard? Do they feel powerless? Their response could be a reflection of how they feel and cant put it into words effectively. Its a gut reaction.
- Empathize: Help your child understand their own feelings by offering an empathetic response, “It seems unfair that we have to go already!” or “I know it’s hard to leave when you’re having such a fun time!” You do not have to agree with the feeling, it simply means that you are trying to relate to their experience.
- Check the Time: Some kids are affected by low blood sugar, hunger or thirst. Others are very sensitive to environmental stimulation or not getting enough sleep. Has it been awhile since your child ate? Could they use a sip of water? Or a break from a loud environment? Offer it in a non-threatening way, “I’m going to have a snack. would you like one too?”
- Slow It Down: It’s easy to get pulled away with the “runaway train” of angry, frustrated words and emotions. Instead of jumping on board and responding to every criticism or complaint your child throws at you, try to put on the brakes, “
- Let it Go: Sometimes it’s best not to give a response, especially if you know your child is hungry or tired and talking out of a “survival mode” brain – or if you can’t keep yourself from responding in a sarcastic, angry or disrespectful way. You don’t have to ignore it forever. Once everyone is calm, you can talk about what happened and how to do it differently next time.
- When you’re ready to talk, you can start with, “It seems like you were upset about leaving the playdate earlier. Can we think of another way to explain to me how you feel?”
- You have feelings too! It’s ok to express them, and let you child know how their words affect you. Be careful not to point the finger back at your child, keep the focus on how it felt to you. “I felt hurt when you said I was the meanest mum ever.”
- If you’ve responded with angry words in the heat of the moment, its ok to admit it. Children need to know mums (or dads for that matter) are not perfect . We all make mistakes, and this is when the children learn information, when they are calm and can process what you are teaching them and they will learn to manage their feelings more respectfully in the future
DO THE TEACHING LATER
Waiting or delaying your response does not mean that you are a passive parent or you’re saying that disrespect is OK. It means that you are waiting until your brain, and your child’s brain, is able to receive information and move on without being rude, angry or disrespectful.