Cool, Calm and Collected
So, you’ve read “Is it Naughty or Neurological?” and you’ve figured out that your child’s behavior is not designed just to make you crazy. She’s not being rude because of disrespect, she just doesn’t yet have the self-regulation skills necessary to manage herself.
Now, does that mean it’s okay for her to speak to you that way, or to avoid her responsibilities?
Well, of course not.
But what’s important in that MOMENT is that you understand what’s going on for her, and not allow it to trigger you. You know that yelling at her, or giving her an unreasonable punishment that is hard to enforce (or likely to add to everyone’s stress), isn’t going to help anything. So if you’re at the brink of breaking, then it’s time to model self-control and take a time out for yourself.
It’ll be better for you. For your child. And for your relationship.
Don’t Lose Your Cool — No, It’s Not Easy
The point is this: you do not want to punish your child for something that is the very nature of her neurological challenge. You want to be supportive, and help her learn to manage her challenges, over time. But sometimes that can be hard to do! So it’s really important for you to keep that in mind, and when push comes to shove, make it your “default” to focus on helping her learn to manage herself. Make that more important than any given task that might need to get done in the moment.
Later, you can have a constructive conversation about what was going on – helping her begin to see how her stress or frustration was interfering with her ability to do what she wanted to get done (or was being asked to do). Later, you can focus on learning skills for navigating times of pressure.
But in that moment, if you can keep your cool, and focus on calming down, you’ll begin to shift the patterns for everyone in the household.
And just in case you do lose your cool occasionally — because you are human, after all — then here’s a good article about how to handle it afterwards: How to Apologize When You’ve Hurt Your Child’s Feelings.