TIPS TO DIFFUSE CHILDHOOD CONFLICT

As a mom of three, our house can get crazy. They seem to yell for every reason, excitement, anger, fear, even sadness.

This is especially apparent with my drama princess whom we’ve deemed Queen Bee, since she’s willing to take the title whether we give it to her or not. You can read a little bit about her in Never Will I Ever (and then I had kids).

But I digress…

The noise is never ceasing, my ears never get a break (except for when I’m listening to podcasts). The one blessing that I have is that most if the time these squeals are joyful and playful.

Over the last year, meltdowns have slowly calmed down. Yes, part of it is age. My children are older. But at the height of the terrible twos, my youngest rarely throws a tantrum… unless she’s hungry, then all of these rules can be tossed out of the window.

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On the occasion that there are cries are of sorrow, I’ve adapted the following tips to diffuse the situation and get them back to the generally happy demeanor as soon as possible.

6 Tips to Diffuse Childhood Conflicts

Get on their level

Have you ever tried to talk someone three times your size? Probably not, but it can be intimating. Kneel, sit, squat, or whatever you can do to be eye to eye. Whatever you do, DON’T BEND OVER. You are still imposing and larger than life. You’re the giant in this situation.

Determine why they’re crying.

For me, whiny voices aren’t heard. They have to learn to calm themselves down enough to speak coherently.

Ask them questions. 

Only you know your child. Assess the damage. As you ask a combination of open-ended and yes/no questions, you can determine the amount of truth being told. Often, they will quickly talk themselves into a corner, especially if they are lying.

If they are in the wrong, they will quickly realize that you know that they are lying and try to back track. Normally, I ask “so A and B happened, does that make sense?” Even when they say “yes”, their demeanor will change in response to the line of questioning.

Validate their feelings.

Allow them to speak and tell you all of their feelings. Who cares if it’s real or imagined, true hurts or made up ones. Right now is the time to listen to them.

Breathe*

Take this time to breathe and get them to breathe too. Sometimes retelling the story restarts the tears and hysterics. Calm them down again, and calm yourself down. This is really important for the next step. Breathe with them, blow in their face, or anything else to help them calm down. Except yelling. Yelling doesn’t help. This is from experience.

Discipline and Consolation

Give them a hug and let them know that you understand. If they need disciplining, succinctly tell them what and why they are receiving the punishment. Whatever your disciplining style, this is the time to be consistent. In a calm cool manner, discipline them. No yelling, screaming or with frustration.

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After a few times of following these steps, I quickly realized that by step six, they were prepared for the discipline and consoling them only took a few seconds.

The key is creating a safe space for your children. Once they understand that you are listening to them, they are a lot calmer.

 

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