1. Remember that BoJ is not here to cause you grievances, but is trying to make sense of Life, the World and the Universe, probably just like you.
2. Take a deep breath. Pause. Do a 360º turn on yourself. Pause. If that is not enough, take a deep breath and walk to another room (or count to ten if you can’t leave the room). Breathe. Calm down. Keep calm and plan the next step.
3. If breathing isn’t enough, try stomping your foot on the ground or slapping your own thigh – that usually takes you right to the core of how angry you became and the self inflicted pain instantly stops the anger in yourself.
4. Feel the negative attention you were about to lash out and drop it, let it go….Very hard to do, I know, but worth trying. Keep calm.
5. Once calm-er, walk towards BoJ, bend your knees till you reach eye level, and talk in a calm voice. (Shouting from across the room usually brings the situation to a higher level of intensity and if you happen to be in a public place, you are sure to look like the baddie).
6. With your eyes into the child’s eyes, connect and acknowledge that something is not quite right, by saying that BoJ must be quite hurt to be acting like that and that you wonder what it is that is really bothering BoJ.
7. We all want to belong and often we are clumsy at asking for love and affection. Sometimes what we do attracts the opposite reaction to what we really need. When BoJ’s behaviour makes you loose control, try to identify the real feeling behind it. Was it a need for attention? A need to feel in charge? A need for revenge? A call for help? Listen. Children can listen after they have been heard.
8. It is not the child who is bad, just the behaviour that was inappropriate. Once you have listened to BoJ’s concerns, share your thoughts and feelings. Ask if BoJ can think of a better way to express his/her needs. Focus on solutions together.
PS. By modeling a calm and respectful behaviour, you have helped your child learn how to problem solve cooperatively. Be grateful for the misbehaviour that allowed you to overcome one of life’s many challenges, together with your BoJ.