Riding emotional waves with our kids
By: Cara Putman
Some days just don’t start well. One of the kids wakes up on the wrong side of the bed – and it’s so bad you wonder who replaced your sweet, fun-loving kids with this surly grouch. What really makes it bad is one bad mood spreads like the most effective virus…especially when the younger kids watch and decide it must be okay since they see their sibling getting away with it.
So what’s a mom to do?
We all know hormones get rocky as kids mature. Does that mean we’re destined to let the kids’ moods dictate family life? I hope not! I don’t claim to have this down pat, but here are a couple things I do to try to smooth the roller-coaster of emotion that tries to derail our days.
1) When I notice a child is acting out of character, I try to get them in another room – one without prying siblings. On the days our hormones and emotions are out of control, it’s easy to be embarrassed by the things we’re doing and saying. Removing the audience helps remove the additional embarrassment of being called to the carpet for that ‘tude.
2) Then I ask the child if they know what is going on. Getting them to articulate the best they can helps them begin to take ownership of their mood. Some days this is easier than others. Sometimes we have to go through these first two steps several times before the child has insight to understand what is happening.
3) If possible I outline specific actions or words that are inappropriate. Yelling at a sibling for no reason and at a volume I can hear half a house away. Giving concrete examples helps hone in on the behavior.
4) Then I ask if they need to take some time alone. Pray? Get the space to cool down? What can I do to help them regain control? I try to emphasize that while the hormones and emotions may feel out of control, with God’s help they can exercise control of all areas of their lives.
What strategies have you employed with your kids or the young people in your life?