10 Ways to Respond to Your Upset Child:

1.  Don’t leave the the child alone with her [or his, of course] feelings.  Sometimes a child can show upset in an “acceptable” –that is quiet–way.  Sometimes, not.  No difference.  Stay with the child.

2.  Let the child have her feelings.  “You shouldn’t feel that way,” is a common and unhelpful response.  Just listen; the stronger the feelings, the more healing is taking place.

3.  Reassure the child that her feelings are natural and unloading them is healthy.

4.  Keep your own feelings out of it.  Your job is to be there, listening, loving.

5.  Get someone to listen to your feelings at the end of this time.  If you don’t, it might be hard to do it more than once [and believe me, you’ll need to do it more than once!].

6.  As the adult, take responsibility for keeping yourself and the child safe.  That means if the child is flailing arms and legs or trying to hit you while in the throes of strong feelings, you [maybe with some help], with as much gentleness as possible as well as no blame, prevent anyone getting hurt. Don’t expect the child to be able to act rationally at this time.

7.  If at all possible, stop when the child is finished unloading the feelings.  If not possible, explain to the child that you wish you could help her unload all her hard feelings right then, but you can’t.  She will be able to sometime in the future.  You’ll find that the more often you give your child time like this, the briefer the time needed for the child to be happy again.

7.  Tell your child that you are happy to listen to what is troubling her but don’t worry about or push your child for more information.

Well, the title is ten but we got seven!  Let me know if you’ve tried them.


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