When confronting the challenges of disciplining their children, parents often default to the ways their own parents disciplined them, sometimes with harmful results. Parenting is not easy and no matter what age your child or children are, it’s easy to go totally bongers. One of the key things I’ve learned is that when a child is having a total meltdown, there’s no reasoning with them!
Contrary to popular belief, tantrums are not teachable moments. It’s incredibly important to stay calm when a child misbehaves and then, when the child is calm as well, open the lines of clear communication.
To help cope with the lows in a way that helps parents maintain sanity while setting a good example for our little ones, we spoke with mother, author of High Five Discipline and pediatrician Dr. Candice Jones, MD, FAAP.
Here are Dr. Jones’ top ways to stay calm when your child misbehaves.
- Count to 10 before you respond. This can prevent reacting.
- Practice mindfulness. It will help you gain self-control. It includes breathing and relaxation techniques.
- Try a body scan. You focus on different parts of your body going up or down and how they feel to distract, relax and ground you.
- When you feel frustrated or angry, walk away for a moment to collect yourself. You don’t have to respond immediately.
- Use “I” statements. I feel sad when you hurt your sister. Please keep your hands to yourself.
- Try to understand and empathize with your child and why they might be misbehaving. Is there something you can do better to set your child up for behavioral success?