PARENTING: Positive phrases to calm difficult behaviour

27 January 2020
Reading time2 minutes

It’s all too easy to snap and yell at the kids when they’ve pushed you to your limit. But, we all know how ineffective that can be – responding with angry statements can exacerbate an already high-pressure situation, leading to tears and tantrums all around.

Removing yourself from the situation and counting to ten before responding is all well and good, but it can also help to arm yourself with a few phrases to use when your child’s behaviour is becoming difficult. Here are some you could try:

  • It’s perfectly normal to feel angry. Using this phrase helps to open up a dialogue between you and your child so you can get to the bottom of the issue. It’s okay that your child feels angry and yelling back rarely helps.
  • Let’s work together to sort this out. If your child is getting frustrated, knowing that you are on their side can flip the situation on its head.
  • Can you think of a way to make it better? Giving your child options to work out the problem at hand lets them know that you trust them and can help restore their sense of control.
  • Why don’t we have a break from this for a bit? If your child is getting frustrated on a task, like homework for example, pushing them won’t help. Take a breather and come back to it later.
  • Shall we go somewhere quiet to talk about this? Removing your child from their siblings to talk about their behaviour can be more effective than when you have other little ears listening in. Your child might be more inclined to share their side of the story when they have your undivided attention.
  • I can feel myself getting worked up over your behaviour. Let’s both calm down. Admitting your feelings to your child can really help in a tense situation. Taking time to both calm down can allow you to sort the issue more rationally.
  • You shouldn’t do that because… Explaining why something is wrong rather than just forbidding it makes more sense to your child. If you have a good reason for stopping their behaviour, they are more likely to stop than if they think you are just being ‘mean’.

Essentially, try to open up a dialogue, be honest about your feelings and explain to them why their behaviour is unacceptable.

Do you have any other tips for dealing with difficult behaviour? We’d love to hear them.

For more ways to restore the peace in your household, read our article here.

Written by

Kerry White

Kerry is the Senior Writer for Kids on the Coast and Kids in the City. Kerry moved to Australia from England in 2013 with her husband and two daughters. She worked as a sub-editor in London for seven years before she had her girls. She now calls the Sunshine Coast her home and is making the most of its glorious weather and beaches. She enjoys baking, especially when she has a glass of wine in hand, and is a part-time Psychology, Criminology and Justice student. She also shares her home with two cats and her daughters' imaginary dogs.

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