Do you know anyone who says, “I like getting upset with my children”? What I hear instead are complaints that either their children are having upsetting outbursts and/or the parents are losing their cool and yelling which they regret immediately after. Parents may say that only when they get angry will their kids comply but in the end, parents feel sad with the emotional distance that anger causes.
One of the problems with anger is when parents feel hurt and use attacking words that defend themselves and blames the child for the upset. When a parent feels helpless to change their child, their frustration can come out with accusing words such as “You are so stubborn (rude, mean, etc.)”, “You never listen.” “You only think of yourself”, or “ I never treated my parents like this when I was your age.”
Can you relate to this? As parents, unless trained otherwise, we often resort to self-protection rather than being able to connect to our upset children and help them. We become absorbed in our own hurt and goals and react from this emotional state. These feelings of conflict and disconnection with our children feel pretty bad, don’t they?
Trying to leave the house in the morning is a common time of conflict where the child might be struggling with getting ready on time and the parent has their mind set on leaving on time. You and your child are coming from two different goals at the moment. You see your child as the problem because they aren’t cooperating and your child sees you as the problem because you aren’t understanding their problem.
This situation can end up in a power struggle through your child rebelling against you even more. What about when you are in a store or visiting relatives? Do you experience hurt feelings and power struggles in these situations? Both of you have a goal you are trying to achieve and they are in opposition to each other and emotions flare.
In order to defuse potential explosions, it takes a specific skill set of evaluating the recurring conflict and creating a plan of action beforehand. You can’t make good choices at the moment because your limbic system, the emotional center, is flaring and the thinking brain, the prefrontal cortex has shut down. I call this evaluating skill the Think-Feel-Do Evaluation Process
So, when you feel swept away by emotions, have confidence that the T-F-D Evaluation Process is a tried-and-true approach to you remaining calm and creating greater calm in your parent-child interactions.
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Copyright 2022 – Cynthia Klein, Family Happiness Expert – Coach, speaker, and author of Ally Parenting: A Non-Adversarial Approach to Transform Conflict Into Cooperation. Learn more about Cynthia’s services and contact her at her website, https://bridges2understanding.com. Contact Cynthia for permission to reproduce any information from this article.