Watch out – he´s in a bad mood AND IT IS ALL YOUR FAULT
Ever had your head completely bitten off by your kids (or a colleague, friend or partner) for absolutely no reason – but suddenly you feel like you did something wrong?
This video is all about talking to kids about what they can do when they are in a bad mood – so they are aware of their own feelings and how difficult it is for others to be around them when they behave this way.
Mmmmm. Yes, other people’s bad moods can certainly make us feel like we did something wrong. It’s even worse when words like, “I hate you!” Or some kind of derogatory or scornful comment, put down, gesture or look are included. Or there’s being blamed for all their problems when they refuse to take any responsibility for their own attitude or actions. My personal favourite is being blamed and then left to feel like you DESERVE it – and it IS your fault.
Sometimes we ALL have a bad moment, day or something happen that really puts us in a bad mood. Sometimes there is a reason – other times there is not. As adults (hopefully – but not always!) we have learned to recognize this feeling and can control it. We also know that if we have a bad few minutes, not to drag it out all day as that can make us feel even worse about the situation.
Children are less adept at managing their feelings – and it can leave others at their mercy, literally quaking in their shoes, as they shout, scream, blame and bellow their dissatisfaction for all to see and hear.
Toddlers rage against anything and everything – their temper tantrums in the most public of places have left virtually every parent wishing the floor would swallow them up. Teenagers are known to be moody and temperamental because of hormonal changes. Children get tired, they struggle with change, they argue with parents, siblings and friends, they resist authority and they behave badly to get attention.
So, what do to? Here are a few tips:
- Use your intuition – what is really going on – tiredness, hunger, fall-out with a friend, school issue – something more? Step back and categorize the mood and then act.
- Use your words – don’t shy away or be scared by their mood (so many parents are genuinely frightened of their child’s anger and mood) – tell them, “I can see and feel you are upset / angry etc and I want to help you. However, right now no one can say or do anything right and it is upsetting everyone at home.” If they are old enough, ask them what they need, or give them a choice – spent a little time to calm down or talk there and then.
- Talk to others in the house and explain that it is not their fault – and it is not yours either.
- Home routines, standards and expectations stay the same – a bad mood does not rule the house and impact on everyone’s behavior.
- Give them space – there is no point talking to a child who is in the grips of a meltdown or a bad mood. See my blog “Dealing with Attitude Problems” for more on this. Tell them you recognize they have something on their mood, you are giving them space, yet the expectation is that you will both talk about it in about half an hour. For older children, give them the choice of coming to you, or you going to them to talk about it.
- Explain about how we all experience strong feelings – yet we can control them. Talk about what makes them feel calm and how these things can neutralize big strong feelings.
- Stay calm – here are tips on how to do this in my post about “Keeping Calm around Grumpy Kids”.
- Make peace – be the bigger person and show them it is OK to back down sometimes. “Hey listen, I can see you’re not that happy today – what’s happened? I’d really like to listen and hear what is going on.”
- Don’t leap in with solutions – it will only be turned around on you – patience is a virtue here!
- Make up before bedtime – no matter the mood or issue, let them go to sleep knowing they are safe and loved at home. It might be a small concession to you – and could mean the world to them.
- Always make sure you end up talking about it as children (like adults) find very strong emotions difficult to deal with – they need your help.
If your child is angry, or their temper is ruling your home life, get in touch, and let’s give them and you the support needed to bring back harmony and balance into family life.