There have only been a handful of parenting books that I've recommended and this one is truly a must read!
This book is called "The Explosive Child" by psychologist Dr. Ross Greene. Don't let the title fool you, this book is about much more than dealing with meltdowns and time-outs (been there, done that).
"The Explosive Child" is a primer on how to help your child problem-solve and work collaboratively with you (even in heated situations) so that dealing with conflict becomes less stressful over time.
Where's the Empathy?
Think of Dr. Greene's approach as the antithesis to time-outs and sticker charts. Instead, parents work with kids in a three-step process.
- Express empathy for whatever your child is feeling (i.e. I understand you don't want to go to bed now, and miss the end of the movie. That must make you very sad).
- Identify the concerns of both parties (i.e. your child says this is his favorite movie and he doesn't want to miss it. You offer that tomorrow is a school night, and you're worried because it's hard for him to get going in the morning.)
- Invite your child to problem solve with you until you reach a compromise.
This process takes work, and a lot of it. But in the end, what ends up happening is that the volume (literally) gets turned down in your home as shouting matches turn into discussions and your relationship with your children moves away from the "Because I said so, that's why!" model (been there, done that) to one of collaboration. Raising kids who can trouble-shoot in real time and not just overreact is certainly worth the effort.