6 min read
Practical tools and skills to help your child regulate emotions.
Finding the proper balance between knowing how to give your explosive child the proper love and discipline is extremely challenging. We’re always walking on eggshells, thinking: If I say no now he/she will explode, so it’s not worth it, I am just going to give in. Out of fear, we hold so much in and let too much slide when we really don’t want to and then we end up exploding ourselves!
It’s stressful, but there is hope. Here are a few tips and some important points to keep in mind when raising an explosive child. Once we learn to understand and accept our child we can then move on to teaching the vital skill of emotional regulation.
Understanding Your Explosive Child
1. Children do not explode because they want to. God has given your child this temperament and challenge. They are not trying to manipulate you. Getting in control of their emotions is a skill that they are lacking and we as parents can help.
2. God has handpicked your child for you and given you the tools to guide them. Your child truly just wants to succeed. He or she desperately wants a close loving relationship with you. Do not be fooled by the explosions. He wants to overcome his explosions more than you want. We need to believe in our child’s deep desire to be good and do good!
3. Many times what we see in others is something we need to work on ourselves. Just like we can make excuses and accept our downfalls and emotional outburst (whether they are done silently or only in front of our immediate family); let’s make those same excuses and give the same understanding to our children. For example: “I am really tired/hungry/stressed out… so leave me alone before I yell at everyone! Ahh! Wheres my chocolate?!” Maybe your child is also hungry/tired/dealing with change of schedule/school and social pressure etc…
Teaching Child New Skill
Once we understand, accept and unconditionally love our children, we can then move on helping them gain the tools to calm down. We want to get our children to a place where they can learn to get in control of their emotions by themselves. Learning any new skill takes time, practice, and lots of patience! So instead of being afraid to face an explosion, view it as a great opportunity for you to teach your child an extremely important life skill that will help him/her succeed much more in life. There will always be difficult people and challenging situations in life. Imagine how much we are helping our children by letting them learn to get in control. So how can you do this?
1. Have open communication with your child. Let your child know that this is something you want to work on with him or her, and it is okay, we all have things we need to work on.
2. Set up a self-soothing tool box with your child. Discuss different ideas together that will help him/her calm down in the moment. A book, music, stress ball etc..
3. Role play, with you first being the one who explodes, gets in control, and express yourself in a healthy way. Take turns.
4. Let your child know it is okay to feel upset, but the problem is in the way that anger is expressed. Demonstrate proper ways to communicate when feeling upset as opposed to exploding.
5. Build your bond and relationship outside of the explosions. The closer your child feels to you, the more open he/she will be to your help and going through this learning process with you.
In the Middle of an Explosion
This is all very nice, but what do I do when my child is still exploding?
1. Remember patience, patience, patience! Trust the process. You are planting seeds. Some of us think it’s enough to ignore or hold our child down for an hour until they get into control. Yes these types of interventions are needed at times, but we want more than just getting a hold of the explosion in the moment, we want to give our children the gift of self-control! We want to teach skills our children can take with them throughout their whole life.
2. A system can be set up with your child after you have communicated and have the tool box in place. Let your child know from now on when they are about to explode, you are going to give a warning (in a non-threating, gentle way), and that will be their time to go to their tool box and calm down.
3. In the beginning, it will be very hard for your child to choose to calm down on their own. Let them know if that does not work you are going to have to intervene, by either separating them so they can get calm on their own or something along those lines.(Make sure to do this without any anger or emotional charge.)
4. It might be intense and drag out longer than you would like, but once again, trust the process. Once they are calm, reunite, show them you are still their mother and love and accept them, but after some time there should be a repair of whatever damage was done. Here we show the beautiful balance of I love you unconditionally and you can repair what you did and learn for the future.
5. Within the next few days when things are going well, you discuss what happened and how it can be improved and prevented for the future. Problem solving is a great tool to take advantage of.
6. Consistency is key. Your child has to see you are not going to let explosions slide anymore. You are on top of this. Each time there is an explosion you deal with it. You embrace the opportunity to teach your child and help him/her learn to become someone who can get in control of their emotions! Don’t we all wish our parents would have taught us that?
Make this month learning to get into control month! Face those explosions head on. Once you are confident and realize you are here to help your child succeed then it will go much easier. Focus on your goal and focus on the long term success of your child.