Take Charge and Use Common Sense

In my recent post I talked about how kids are people too and that they want the same treatment that any person does, especially from their fathers.

I also mentioned situations when you can observe dads not showing respect for their kids, by the way they correct them in public. But that prompts the question, what am I supposed to say when my kids acts like a jerk and is making me embarrassed and furious with what they are doing!

Well I hope you agree that you don’t want to use put-downs. These don’t really do any good, and a good case can be made that they can do some long lasting damage.  After all a dad’s first obligation to his children is to show them respect.

Now I am not saying that you not correct the child, or you let him or her take over the situation. But there are ways to correct the bad behavior without leaving a mark on the hearts and psyche of your kids.

But, you say, what should I do?  I have this kid acting like a maniac in a store, and he or she won’t listen to me and stop being so disruptive.

Here are a couple tricks that might work. One is to lower your voice. When I am frustrated I always want to raise my voice, but if you lower your voice and lean in toward your child’s ear you begin to change the dynamic.

It is important to remember that you set the emotional agenda not the child. You are the adult, and that means the one in control of your emotions. So do not react to what they are doing, rather take charge of the situation. Act calm and not rattled.

Another trick is to move quickly with your child to another part of the store. Ignore the behavior and walk quickly to a place where you can talk quietly with your child away from others. There you tell him or her that you will be leaving soon but you have to finish. Tell them that when you get to the car you want them to tell you why they are acting the way they are. Tell them this kind of behavior is not like them, even if it is!

Every situation is different. Every kid is different. So I hasten to add that these tricks may not work. But what does work is that you set the emotional agenda. You keep control of yourself.  And then use common sense. Don’t put your kid down.

One thought on “Take Charge and Use Common Sense

  1. Dan Conway

    I’ve been told, and reluctantly I believe it’s true, that whenever I’m angry and lose control, there’s something wrong with me. No matter what the situation. No matter what the other person is doing or saying to me. No matter how unjustly or unfairlyI am being treated, the minute I lose control of myself something is wrong with me. I don’t want to believe this. I prefer righteous indignation–it’s his fault or their fault. They are making me behave this way. Really? Is it really so easy for someone else (especially a child) to make me act like an idiot? No. I am responsible for my words and actions and even my body language. Only I can cause me to scream or scold or (God forbid) strike someone else out of anger or frustration or fear. I am not a puppet being manipulated by others. I am a free man. So, yes, I should lower my voice not raise it. And I should move calmly away from the scene of confrontation. Above all, I should remember that none of us is born emotionally mature. We learn self-mastery, self-control and emotional maturity over time from adults who model these behaviors for us. And we teach our children first and foremost by our example. It’s simple but not easy. I alone am responsible for me.


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