As a parent, overcoming our own tempers can be the ultimate challenge.
When our kids misbehave, it’s easy to react with anger, but that’s not a productive approach. Dr. Chawanna B. Chambers, or “Dr. Chae,” shared a story about dealing with her daughter’s bad attitude, and it illustrates just how important it is to help our kids understand why they act the way they do.
Dr. Chae has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction and is a national award-winning educator and strategy coach in San Antonio, Texas. On Twitter, she explained that her 6-year-old daughter was being a bit curt with her one day, so she asked her what was wrong.
“At first, she just looked at me, so I reiterated that I can’t help her if I don’t know what’s wrong,” the mom wrote. “Then I asked, ‘Why are you being unkind to me? What happened?'”
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Just trying to understand why her daughter was acting that way was such an important step. Instead of assuming she was being rude because she wanted to be mean, Dr. Chae guessed that something had happened. Of course, she was right!
“She looked at me and said, ‘I don’t know,’ and started crying. I told her, ‘It’s OK. Sometimes mommy just doesn’t feel happy too. You’re not in trouble. I just needed to know how to help.'”
Her daughter was surprised to hear that other people feel the same way sometimes. “I told her that’s sort of how it happens for lots of people. When our emotions aren’t happy, sometimes we take it out on others even when they don’t deserve it.”
Dr. Mom then gave her daughter a crucial tip that will help her throughout her life: “When you aren’t quite feeling right but don’t want to be mean, you can say, ‘I’m not feeling my best self; I need a min.'”
They practiced the mantra a few times, and her daughter felt better. Plus, she is now equipped with something to say the next time she feels like lashing out at others over her own bad mood!
“I think about all the ways I *could’ve* responded, particularly a power trip bc ‘I’m the adult,’ but she needed to process something not even about me,” Dr. Chae concluded.
Trying to be slower to projection or anger has really given me an opportunity to coach my children on emotional maturity. Even at 6, she can learn how to challenge her own thoughts. She can learn how her brain works and the best ways to engage w/others.
She is so right! If we are calm and react maturely, our children will notice and emulate that behavior. Leading is part of being a parent, after all! Next time you’re tempted to snap at your child, pause and ask them what’s really going on. You might be surprised by their response!
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