When a child starts getting angry, it sometimes feels like a volcano is about to blow up. Usually, this feels like a disaster for parents. It can also become frustrating sometimes. Double the frustration if you are dealing with a child on the autism spectrum.
So here are top five things to say to handle an angry kid. Parents of kids with autism can try these methods too.
1)Instead of saying: Stop throwing things!
Try this: When you throw your toys, I think you don’t like playing with them. Is that what’s going on?
Why? By doing so you help your child communicate emotions in a non-confrontational way. It keeps communication lines open. Also, it allows your child to rephrase events in his own perspective.
2) Instead of: Don’t you dare hit!
Try this: It’s OK to be angry, but I won’t let you hit. We need to keep everyone safe.
You make it clear that his anger, his emotion is acceptable but the action is not. Separating the anger and what he does about it will help your child learn likewise.
3.Instead of: Big kids don’t do this!
Try this: Big kids and even grown-ups sometimes have big feelings. It’s OK, these feeling will pass.
The older your kids get, the bigger the emotions they have. Do not tell them that big kids don’t experience frustration, anger, or anxiety. Help them deal with their feelings and process them in a healthy manner.
4. Instead of: You’re being so difficult!
Try this: This is a tough one, huh? We’re going to figure this out together.
When children are digging in their heels, it is important to understand why. When you use these words, you are reinforcing the idea that you are on the same team, working toward the same goal.
5) Instead of: Brush your teeth right now!
Try this: Do you want to brush Elmo’s teeth first or yours?
Tantrums, especially for toddlers, are expressions of their desire to take control of their situation. When you use these words, you are giving your child a choice and a little control.
Being a parent is an everyday process, a 24/7 job that involves a lot of sweating, laughing, yelling and truck loads of patience and understanding. Moreover, it is one of the most fulfilling jobs the world has ever known.
We salute parents especially those who have kids with autism. We feel you. We know how it feels.
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Note: The top five phrases are excerpts from a published article on Huffington Post.