Tips for handling a frustrated child

Susan Stiffelman, MFT Author and Therapist, shares advice for parents on how to best handle a situation when your child is frustrated and how it can be used to bonding moment
Parenting TIps | How To Handle Your Frustrated Child
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Tips for handling a frustrated child

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When your child is frustrated, it's much better to come along side her, rather than take that moment to teach her a lesson because she is not going to learn it in that moment. A frustrated child doesn't have access to that left, logical, linear brain, that part of the brain that would process whatever wise teaching you had at the moment. When they are frustrated, you want to come along side them. I use this analogy; I come along side them is like that, coming at them is where you are forcing them, this is where you have the push. You want to come along side her; so she when calms, she becomes receptive. That looks like, you would say things like, "Sweetheart, I get it. You were really hoping that she could come over and play. I understand. It's really a drag that she changed her mind. I want to hear about it, tell me." You make comments that gets them in the way that they are nodding their head, and they are saying, "Yes." I call it "act one parenting" in my book. I talk a lot about it. It's a cornerstone of my work. Act one parenting is where you are helping the child settle down, be open to your parenthood and guidance. Most of the parents that I've worked with, use act two parenting; which is appealing to the left part of their brain, giving them reasons that they shouldn't be upset, trying to talk them out of their feelings, and it inflames the situation. It's best when a child is frustrated; come along side them, let them settle down, and then you can provide the teaching moment that needs to happen.

Susan Stiffelman, MFT Author and Therapist, shares advice for parents on how to best handle a situation when your child is frustrated and how it can be used to bonding moment

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Susan Stiffelman, MFT

Author & Therapist

Susan Stiffelman is the author of Parenting Without Power Struggles: Raising Joyful, Resilient Kids While Staying Cool, Calm and Connected and the weekly parenting advice columnist at the Huffington Post. You can sign up for Susan's free parenting newsletter. 

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