Have you ever experienced the stress of dealing with behavior that is out-of-control?
Have you ever noticed that using time-outs and punishments can actually make the behavior even worse?
Read further to discover how you can use positive methods to keep yourself calm and give yourself the ability to engage with your children in a way that will calm them down too!
Staying Calm Throughout Difficult Behavior
One of the biggest challenges parents face is finding ways to remain calm and rational when their children are anything but that. From toddlers to teenagers, the emotions can run high and the tension can run rampant in families. Learning effective strategies for remaining calm when children appear out of control is valuable to all parents, because all parents go through times when their children try their patience, their stamina, and their sanity.
Human brains process emotions with the same portion of the brain that is responsible for focus, impulse control, empathy, judgment, and many other factors related to reasoning. Sometimes emotions can overrun the processes that would typically allow for calm control of a situation. When this happens, reasoning and positive decision-making can be almost impossible. Parents need to find ways to calm themselves so that they can regain control over the part of the brain that will help them make rational decisions.
Parents can improve these tense situations by employing a positive time out strategy. This strategy is not a self-imposed punishment for feeling overwhelming emotions. Instead, it is a technique that allows parents to regain positive control of the stressful situation. It also helps parents model these valuable skills for their children.
It can be very easy for parents to fall into the trap of reacting to the drama and emotions that their children bring to the situation. Once the ball starts rolling of emotion reacting to emotion, instead of rationalized thoughts reacting to situations, it can be challenging to regroup and look at the situation with perspective.
The positive time out strategy basically means that the parent makes efforts to realize when emotions are running high for either himself, the child, or both, and removes himself from the situation long enough to gain a calmer perspective and encourage the child to do so as well. This might involve telling a teenager who is trying to argue about curfew limits that, “I need to walk away for 10 minutes to calm down and think about this before speaking with you about it.” This strategy separates those involved in a respectful manner and helps put things in perspective. It also teaches children that their parents care enough about them and the situations to want to positively communicate with them. Children then also learn how to use this valuable skill.
Children might want to continue the conflict, and parents need to be consistent and vigilant to follow through on their commitment to walk away and regain composure. Parents can even tell their children that both of them need to have some time alone to think about things, and that when the child is feeling calmer and when Mom or Dad is feeling calmer, everyone can finish the discussion. Kids often benefit from time spent alone playing in their room, reading a book, listening to music, or just taking a walk. When parents use the same technique for themselves, children learn that it is not a punishment, but instead a tool for treating each other more respectfully.
The journey of parenting is not always easy, but learning ways to calm down and separate from the tense situation can really benefit family relationships. Using a positive time out strategy can build healthier bonds between parents and children and help all involved learned to solve differences, even in the craziest of times.
Your friend and fellow parent,
Parenting Coach, Author & Speaker