Helping Kids Calm Down during difficult situations is something that as parents we need to learn to do for the sake of our children.
How To Help Kids Calm Down During Difficult Situations
It can be tough to reason with kids (or anyone else, for that matter) when emotions are running high.
Often, when conflicts are at their worst, the best thing to do is try to lower the heat a little before trying to resolve the situation.
But how to do that? It often seems that when kids are upset, nothing anyone can say can help the situation.
I don’t know about you, but as an adult, I’m the same way and when I’ve escalated I don’t want anyone telling me what to do.
But there are things that as adults and parents we can do to help de-escalate tense situations.
Plus, as for me, I would like my daughters to be able to handle difficult situations better than I do.
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As parents my husband and I right now we are in the heart of raising our daughter’s.
Our pre-teen is 10 going on 16 and our 8 year-old thinks she’s 30!
So emotions are pretty high in our house when difficult situations arise with school work, friends, or with each other.
These solutions have come in handy in our home and have been wonderful for both our kids and ourself.
Give Time To Regroup
Often, giving each other a little time to calm down is all that’s needed to defuse a potentially loaded situation.
I know what you’re thinking, I want to nip it in the behind now before it gets worse.
The fact is, when our kids are on high alert they are not listening to anything we say.
Instead, stop talking, stop trying to prove a point, and take a break.
This will give you time to regroup what message you want to get across in a calmer and loving way.
Give Space To Calm Down
Sometimes kids need physical distance to chill out.
I know I do, so think about their feelings and what they need in that moment that you can provide for them when it comes to space.
Allowing them to take quiet time in their room for reading a book, writing in their journal, or just going for a walk might be exactly what they need.
Make sure they are safe and supervised, but try to back off and give them the room they need to otherwise express themselves.
Allow them this safe space to do so and calm down.
Remove Any Audience Present
One of the things that I’ve noticed, especially since my girls have gotten older is that kids will perform for other kids or family members.
Their pride is involved, they won’t back down if they think others are watching to see what they will do next.
It can be challenging to get a teen who is upset to leave the room, so sometimes, you have to remove the bystanders.
It can be especially true if the bystanders are giving their opinion or siding with your child.
Either way, taking away a teen’s stage lessens the likelihood that things will get worse simply because he wants to save face.
Align With Your Child
Hear me out on this one, because I’m the first one to play the “I’m the adult” card with my girl’s.
This doesn’t always work, well, it actually never works!
Try to avoid a confrontational, win/lose positioning.
It’s more productive to try to adopt a “you and me against the problem” attitude.
Rather than “you against me” and a “me against you” situation.
Resist the compulsion to get the last word in or win every point.
Things will calm down a lot quicker when your child or teen views us parents as an ally rather than the enemy.
Remember, we need our kids to trust us and to be able to talk to use whenever they need us.
Making sure they know this is important and if we play our “righteousness” as parents, we will miss out on a parenting opportunity.
It’s not about who’s right or wrong; it’s about diffusing the situation quickly and making sure our kids know we are always on their side.
Believe me when I say that I have a hot temper, and sometimes it’s hard for me to change my mindset, but it makes a huge difference.
To help your kids calm down, avoid sarcasm and belittling comments; they will only make the situation worse.
In fact, they will create a wall between you and your child.
Instead, keep comments positive, respectful, and calm.
With any luck, doing so will help your teen or child lower their level of hostility.
Kids need to feel some sense of control and feel that they are respected just as we do.
Use Reflective Listening
Instead of focusing on what they want to say, parents who focus on what their teen is trying to say usually fare better in difficult situations.
This works very well with my tween daughter because it makes her feel validated and that I’m actually listening.
Rather than spewing out demands.
Try repeating back to your child or teen what they are saying or what they are feeling.
It will help them calm down faster, making them feel listened to, and helps you clarify what’s happened.
Don’t just reflect the content of what they’re saying, as I mentioned above. Help identify emotions, too.
This alleviates one of the major obstacles of adult-teen communication: when teens feel that they are not understood.
Especially if your child is like my daughter and me. We feel secure and listened too when our emotions are respected.
A simple comment like, “You sound really frustrated,” or “that must have made you angry,” goes a long way to building rapport and getting emotions under control.
Swap out Adults
This one is hard for me to even admit, but sometimes my husband can handle a situation better than I can.
That’s when I need to be the adult and the parent my child needs.
Knowing when to allow our partner, husband, or wife to take over a situation with our child is imperative in helping our child calm down.
As a mom who struggles with control issues and perfectionism, this is hard for me to do, but necessary.
Don’t hesitate to call in for a swap if it seems like things are running in, circles and you’re not getting anywhere.
Once things are calm, productive problem solving can begin with your child or teen.
We all feel tense and anxious during difficult situations.
How can we not? We’re humans!
It is no different for our kids, but they have us doing the research and reading articles like these to help them calm down during difficult circumstances.
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Share with us how you help your child calm down during difficult situations.