When Things Aren’t Working For the Child, Focus on the Emotion
One of the goals of discipline is to teach but what is the best way to do this? Children encounter problems and frustrations in everyday life. For example,
- “Grandma can’t come today”,
- “ Sally won the game, not you”,
- “We’ve run out of that cereal”,
- “You have to finish your homework before you can go on the computer.”
Children need to learn that life cannot always adjust to them. There are times when they need to adapt to the situation. It is often best to be calm, firm and state what the reality of the situation is while providing comfort as your children experience frustration which can often lead to sadness or disappointment.
To help children through this process you can say things like:
- It’s hard when things don’t work out.
- I know you really wanted this to happen.
- You were hoping I’d have a different answer.
- I wish things could have been different.
Much more important than our words is that our children know that we are “with” them and not “against” them.