We’ve all been there—the moment your kid explodes in public and the judgmental stares burn a hole through any sense of self-worth you have as a mom. Recently, my child put my skills to the test in the middle of a Cracker Barrel when he discovered there were no waffles on the menu (gasp!). Except this time, I didn’t search for the glares of others to confirm that sneaky lie that I was a bad mom. My attention remained steady under the table as my kid shoved chairs, threw shoes, and hurled insults. If I’d tried to physically remove him, the whole restaurant would have had to evacuate. Touching or restraining an angry child only magnifies the fury.
Instead, I offered my son empathy to help his brain regain access to rational thinking, which eventually enabled him to join us and eat pancakes. And there’s a tool I used to make it happen. Here’s what it is.
My ability to handle the Cracker Barrel episode came from parenting strategies found in The Explosive Child: A New Approach for Understanding and Parenting Easily Frustrated, Chronically Inflexible Children, a must-read book by Dr. Ross Greene. The techniques in it are some of the most widely recommended for kids who struggle with anger. It’s founded on the principle that we can most effectively teach our angry children when we work with them. Try these five ideas from this groundbreaking book to help parent your angry child with success.