By Rebeccah Minazadeh
If you are attentive to your child, you will recognize predictable patterns just before he/she has a temper tantrum patterns such as clenched fists or moving a specific way. It is in these seconds that it is most crucial for parents and teachers to intervene. Parents can distract the child by, for example, saying “Look at the bird!” and say, “You seem upset, can you tell me what happened?”
This exercise, “Conflict Solution Formula,” in Resilient Children demonstrates the ABCDE’s of conflict resolution that you can practice with your child and his/her peers:
A=Ask what the problem is.
B=Brainstorm solutions that are positive.
C=Choose a solution that is fair to all.
D=Do try the solution. Make the effort.
E= Evaluate whether it worked for you and your child/the other person.
Children will benefit most by developing a routine or emotional habit that is a consistent response to their heated feelings. Another positive cue is, “deep dragon breaths.” One tip is to have a child blow bubbles that represent his/her anger. Have your child blow bubbles, take deep breaths and blow the “meanies” away. Older children can benefit from practicing yoga and meditation consistently. Stress balls are also helpful with play-dough is particularly favored for younger children.
While you are feeling stressed, it is important to your child that you honor this feeling, and express yourself in an honest, respectful and constructive way. This models healthy, emotional regulation and self-esteem. It’s okay for a parent to show different moods, insofar as these are explained. For example, you could say, “I am going to go outside, because I’m sad about what Aunt Kelly said.”
Your child will mimic your behavior and response to stress. The calmer you are and the more regulation you demonstrate the better for both you and your child.