Aha! Parenting Blog

Practical solutions for real parenting problems

When Your Child Gets Angry: The Cheat Sheet

"I agree with everything in your article When Your Child Gets Angry: Here's Your Gameplan, but I can't remember all that in the heat of the moment. Can you give us a (very) short version?"

Great idea! Everyone needs the short version on their refrigerator. Here's the cheat sheet on what to do when your child gets angry.

1. Use your Pause Button to calm yourself.

  • Stop (what you're doing.)
  • Drop (your agenda, just for now.)
  • Breathe (which gives you a choice about how to respond.)

2. Remember you're the role model.
Don't get hooked by your child's anger. Don't take it personally. Stay as calm as you can.

3. Listen, and Acknowledge your child's perspective, even if you don't agree with it. In any disagreement, each person thinks they're right. Rage doesn't begin to dissipate until it feels heard. Once your child feels understood, she doesn't have to escalate.

4. Create Safety so your child can get to the tears and fears under the anger. Summon up all your compassion. Softening yourself makes it safe for your child to surface the When your loving compassion meets her wound, she'll probably begin to cry, and the anger will no longer be necessary as a defense.

5. Wait to teach until your child feels re-connected and regulated. You may feel an urgent need to set your child straight, but that's your "fight or flight" talking. You'll be more effective once you both calm down. (Don't worry, you know where he lives.)

That's it.
Less drama. More love.



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