Hi, my name is Teacher Kean from Teaching Worthy. I’m a licensed headmaster with the Ministry of Education and a certified HRDF trainer. My job is to help parents become better parents.
Now the one thing I’ve always stressed in my classes is that we are our children’s biggest role models. So, if your kid is easily angry, annoyed or stressed, it’s because they have learnt to react to problems that way. After meeting with hundreds of parents and children, I can tell you that anxious or easily stressed parents tend to have kids who behave negatively.
You see, for growing children, life is a constant experiment. Every day, kids struggle between behaving positively and coping with their emotions.
I remember a time when my son got into an argument with his cousin. His cousin had accidentally broken his toy. My son got into total war mode, he was crying, blaming and SHRIEKING at everyone in the house.
I clearly remember my face becoming red hot with embarrassment and anger. It would have been easy for me to explode and lash out at the time, to yell at him in the name of “imposing discipline”. But I didn’t.
Because our kids’ emotions are still unstable, it is almost certain that they will get upset when things go wrong. We have to recognise that part of our children’s growth is EXAGGERATED EMOTIONS or OVERREACTING TO BAD NEWS. It wouldn’t help if I exploded as well.
So instead, this is what I did:
I REMOVED MYSELF FROM THE SITUATION
I’ll be honest, I was really embarrassed because some family members were making snide remarks. So, I stepped aside for a few seconds to manage my own emotions. I’ve learnt long ago that it’s super-duper hard to teach your children anything when you are emotional. Everyone has a different way to manage their own emotions. For me, I clear my mind by closing my eyes, focusing on surrounding sounds and taking deep breaths.
I DE-ESCALATED THE SITUATION BY TELLING MY SON WHAT TO DO
When I was in full control of myself, I approached my son and told him, in a very strict voice, to stop screaming. Then I told him to bring his favourite book and to read by himself for a while until he calmed down. Obviously, he protested and started stamping his feet but I was firm. I led him by the hand to the library and instructed him to sit down and read.
At first, he was really angry and reluctant, but he soon stopped crying and yelling after a few minutes. After a few more minutes, he started reading his favourite book and eventually calmed down.
It’s important to emphasise in this stage, you must be very careful not to talk to your child in a gentle or soothing manner. That would be encouraging him to misbehave again in the future. So use a strict but warm voice.
I CORRECTED HIM AND TOLD HIM TO FIX HIS MISTAKE
After he had fully calmed down, I told him simply that his behaviour was unacceptable and that he had to apologise to everyone. After apologising to everyone he shouted at, he asked me what he could do in the future to stop bursting out like that.
I explained to him, in the best way I could to a 9-year-old, that there are a hundred other things which can make him equally as happy as the broken toy. Why get so obsessed over ONE broken toy? When bad things happen, it’s important to be able to find something else to distract you / make you happy until you have calmed down. In his case, it was reading his favourite book.
Obviously, I will have to repeat this many times for him to fully understand it, but I’m a patient teacher.
I PUNISHED HIM AND IMMEDIATELY LET IT GO
After our talk, I made it clear to him that he would be punished because he had broken a rule. I took away his Nintendo Switch for a week. At this point, he knew he was in the wrong and he accepted his punishment willingly.
Now, it’s important for us parents to start afresh after giving the punishment. I went back to being positive and showed him that there were no hard feelings.
Does he still explode like that today? Of course he does, he’s a kid. However, he’s improving at a very impressive rate. I’m proud of his progress.
You see, most parents feel that they can use anger as a disciplinary tool to scare their children into obedience. This is not correct. What happens instead is that our children learn to become angry and scared when bad things happen instead of calming themselves and solving the problem.
As parents, we need to show them that we have steady emotions so that they have the security and consistency to progress and develop themselves. Our children need to know that when their emotions are hot, their parents will be there to de-escalate them.
I hope this video has helped you. It’s important for any person to remain calm and positive in the face of challenges. For children, it helps a lot if they can see their parents being stable and mature when they are upset. If you need more practical steps or if you require specific advice, please do not hesitate to contact us at www.teachingworthy.com. Thank you, and please remember to share these lessons which are worth sharing.