Today I want to talk to you about those trying times when one of your kids may get really uncooperative or moody with you. I don’t know about you, but those times seem to happen at my house pretty frequently some weeks.

Acting as Emotional Coaches

Let’s use an example. Let’s say that in the morning while you’re getting ready for work and your kid is getting ready for school, one of your kids is acting grumpy and they’re snapping at other people in the household as a result. So, any time our kid is out of sorts the most helpful thing that we can remember is that they need us to be an emotional coach for them. When our kids are out of sorts, there’s usually some emotional gick going on for them internally and they haven’t yet figured that out. As busy parents, sometimes our kids’ feelings and upsets can feel like an inconvenience but we need to shift that and recognize that in those moments, that’s actually when they need us to show up with some patience and insights.

Strategy # 1

If your kid is being grumpy, first help them identify the feeling that they’re having. Take a stab at it – “Hey sweetie, I’m noticing that you’ve snapped at your sister 3 times today, are you feeling stressed out?” Don’t worry, if you get it wrong they’ll correct you and tell you what the right emotion is. However, they need your help in putting a name to what they’re experiencing internally.

Strategy #2

Empathize with them. “Oh honey, I know you have so much that you have to get done in the morning. You have to feed the dogs, you have to make your lunch, and I know you’re always really concerned about picking out the right outfit (because there are girls in my house).” Empathize with them and give them some support. They need our nurturing during those stressful times.

Strategy #3

Come up with some creative solutions that set boundaries. “Sweetheart, I think that starting tonight we should get your outfit picked out and your lunch made the night before that way you have fewer responsibilities to do in the morning, does that sound good?” “However, if you snap at your sister one more time, you are going to lose your screen time after school today.” By doing that and following these 3 strategies, we are helping our kids build awareness of their emotions and put labels on them, we’re nurturing them, and we’re also setting limits so that they don’t run amuck.

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