Calming an angry, sad or frightened child is a necessary skill for any coParent. This is a huge goal of helping our kids before we reach conflict.
Most times, a child’s emotional outburst may lead to a parent’s negative reaction towards them, full of anxiety or frustration. The key is to aim at putting a stop to the cycle. It takes patience and commitment.
Kathy Eugster, a counseling psychologist, explains a method that may assist in extinguishing the madness. She suggests that each coParent establish a vocabulary list for each of their emotions, whether they be comfortable or uncomfortable, and split them up into various related categories. So if and when a parent is angry, he or she can make the choice to yell loudly or try to sit in stillness and think of how to solve the problem.
After completing this list, it is advised to create a list of emotions that arrives for each coParent on a daily basis. Make a list of daily emotions and write down how the body feels during each emotion. For instance, with anger, the heart rate may rise, along with temperature and desire to scream. Notice the emotions leading to feelings, try to remain calm and watch the anger melt away.
Also advised is for the coParents to discover calming activities that fit each of their personalities. It is said that research shows that once we each become aware of our emotions and those feelings that follow, our brains and bodies will learn to enter states of calmness.
A few techniques to enter an increased calm state include: Yoga, hiking or other physical activity, dancing and music, outdoor nature activities, mediation, mental imagery and more.
By following this advice of Eugster, the coParent will learn to automatically enter a calm state during the child’s outburst, and react with compassion.