Passionate, expressive, exuberant, highly charged, explosive and lovable; words I can use when describing my girls. The older my girls get, the more I realize what complex creatures they are. One minute they can say something profound and the next minute they are calling their sister a butt nugget.
But when is it too much? As parents, how do we allow our girls to express their feelings, and when do we stop the irrational outbursts that often are accompanied by invisible horns and claws?
I believe one of the biggest mistakes we can make as parents is backing off for the sake of peace during the explosive, door slamming behavior. It’s important to choose our battles, but girls need to understand that these behaviors will not produce the results that they are looking for.
I have made the mistake of escalating my own emotions to match these irrational outbursts. It can be quite a scene in the Jones home.
Here is how it goes….
Girls come home from school…one girl starts fighting with the other…. things become escalated…. hurtful comments are said….tears come….rage…screaming….I step in,… nobody listens…I yell…I ground everyone for life….everyone cries….Dad comes out of his office from the upstairs asking us what is going on…more fighting….then Dad divides and conquers. Everyone is sent to their room and my husband will ask what happen.
To avoid this scenario we have worked on helping the girls use communication techniques. Like these:
…. I feel this way when you do this…..
…..Today I am going through this….
….It hurts my feelings when this happens….
Often, I make the girls take turns talking by giving them a pencil. Who ever has the pencil gets to talk but if you don’t have the pencil, you have to listen. It’s a lot of work, but it keeps the peace and helps me and my kids listen to each other.
Raising kids is work. There is a lot of coaching and management. We can’t expect a young teens to have it all figured out, especially the emotions. As my mother-in-law says (she is a Marriage and Family Therapist), get help when you get stuck. She tells me too many families wait too long before they see a counselor. She also encourages parents to talk to other parents so they can share some ideas.
So please share if you have any good ideas…… How do you deal with your kids emotions?
Specializing in Marriage and Family Therapy
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A fantastic site, and brilliant effort. A great piece of work.
Excellent point. So true that most often the emotions we get at home have nothing to do with the matter at hand. Thanks for the input!
I really like your pencil idea.
I have a boy and a girl; but I think I could use that!
I love that picture! Yes, I know those moments, and it’s hard not to respond emotionally. I remind myself that the most important thing is to model respect and calm. This isn’t always easy, especially when one wants to shout “Be quiet, you butt nuggets!”
Thanks a lot for adding to my vocabulary.
Perhaps the most helpful thing for me is remembering that an argument is often about something else. Often, it has nothing to do with the matter at hand. Something happened at school or elsewhere that hurt, and when they get home, they can safely vent, using some trivial thing as an excuse. I try to get to the heart of the matter and let them talk about that.