Children come into this world not knowing how to handle themselves. It’s up to us as adults to guide them toward self-control and approaching life with an even temper.
Kids will definitely fly off the handle at times, but we need to expect that, and react empathetically so they can learn by example how to better deal with aggravating situations as they arise. It’s okay if they make mistakes, but leaving their temper unchecked as they grow into adults can lead to major problems down the road.
In order to teach our children to be good-tempered, we must:
1. Teach them about feelings
Childhood is a confusing time for everyone. We are thrown into this world with the capability of experiencing a plethora of emotions, and no idea how to handle any of them.
It’s important that adults take the time to teach children how to recognize feelings of anger, sadness, and discomfort, and to provide them with strategies to help cope when these feelings arise. It will take time for them to master these skills, but as with all aspects of childhood, it is expected to be a work in progress.
2. Explain listening skills
If you’ve ever interacted with children, you know they can get themselves worked up over absolutely anything. And most of the time, it’s a huge misunderstanding that was caused because the child wasn’t truly listening to what the other person was saying.
There’s a difference between hearing somebody, and actually listening to them. Teach your children to be mindful when others are speaking, rather than simply waiting for their turn to speak their mind.
If a child learns that listening is just as much a part of communication as talking is, he’ll surely grow into a good-tempered adult.
3. Show them problem solving skills
Once you get children understanding their feelings and truly listening to what others are saying, you’ll also need to guide them in how to actually resolve the issue they’re facing. There are many methods you can utilize to do so, but one of the most effective ways is through role playing.
Discuss a variety of “what if” scenarios in which your child will have to make a decision that could lead to a positive or negative outcome, and discuss the options fully. Act out the scenario both ways, taking care to point out how both parties are feeling throughout the role play.
Doing so will help children understand that their actions play a heavy part in how a certain situation plays out.
4. Discuss anger management skills
Everyone gets angry at some points in life. Anger is a natural human emotion, so there’s nothing wrong with being angry. However, there is something wrong with acting on your anger in a way that negatively affects others around you.
Children need to be taught strategies they can use to cope with their anger that lead to positive resolutions for all parties involved. One notion that should be stressed when discussing anger with children is that anger is always triggered by another emotion, be it fear, jealousy, frustration, or a feeling of rejection.
Help children get to the bottom of their anger, and they’ll better be able to manage their behavior when their emotions begin to flare up.
5. Establish rules
Children need boundaries growing up. As the adult, you’re in charge here. Establish ground rules that your children must obey under any and all circumstances. They’ll learn there are certain actions or behaviors they simply won’t get away with.
However, it’s not enough to just establish the rules, but it is necessary to explain them as well. Children who understand why certain behavior is unacceptable will be less apt to break the rules than children who are simply told “because I said so.”
Since they understand the given rules of a household, they’ll lead much more even-tempered lives..
6. Provide structure
Children should definitely be given some freedom, but for the most part, they should learn to follow a daily routine. This includes before school, after school, and at bedtime.
Again, these house rules are made by you, and the consequences of not following them should be crystal clear to your children. As they get used to following a schedule throughout their day, the thought of deviating from the plan won’t even cross their minds.
7. Help them practice delayed gratification
I know some adults that could use some help here, too! In today’s world in which answers are at our fingertips, and material possessions are just a mouse click away, children need to learn that not everything is “on demand” like their favorite cartoon is.
In fact, the most rewarding things in life are those which we have fully anticipated for days, weeks, months, even years. Earning a good grade on a test takes weeks of preparation and hard work, but the reward lies not only in the actual grade, but in the feeling of success and accomplishment.
Help children see this by creating schedules on a calendar that will show their progress over time. Growth is not necessarily noticeable by children unless it is visualized and discussed on a daily basis.
Showing them how they’ve grown as they work toward a goal will help keep their need for gratification satisfied while working toward that long-term goal.
8. Model appropriate behavior
I cannot stress this last point enough: If you want your children to be even-tempered, you too have to be calm and collected at all times. They learn about life by watching you.
If you fly off the handle at every little bump in the road, they learn that doing so is an appropriate response to frustration, and will act accordingly. However, if you stay cool when bad situations arise, your children will follow suit.
It doesn’t matter how you used to be before you had kids. Once you have a child that looks up to you, you need to remember that they will grow up to be just like you in many ways, and act accordingly.
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