How Can I Help Children Who Are Upset to Calm Down?

Here’s a great idea …

In his book, Between Parent and Child, Child psychologist Haim Ginott says, “An empathic response that mirrors to children their upset feelings and expresses the parents’ sympathy and understanding is effective in changing children’s angry moods.” (p. 55)

In other words …

When our children are upset about something we are often tempted to tell them to calm down and then we lecture them about problem-solving skills. But, this often leaves our children feeling even more frustrated than before. When our children are experiencing strong emotions, their feelings must be addressed before anything else. Simply acknowledging and showing understanding for our children’s feelings will go a long way in helping them calm down.

How you can use this idea to have a better life …

The next time your child is upset about something, take time to acknowledge your child’s feelings. You might say, “That must have made you very angry,” or “You seem very upset about this.” When you show your child that you understand what they are feeling and that his or her feelings are important to you, they will feel more peaceful and be better able to solve their own problems.

To find out more …

about parenting, check out The Parenting Journey or See the World Through My Eyes programs at arfamilies.org, follow us at facebook.com/navigatinglife or contact your local county Extension agent. You can also read Ginott’s Between Parent and Child.

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