When your child or teen comes home down in the dumps and speaks to you discourteously and curtly demanding all kinds of stuff, it’s tempting to tell them to cut it out and cool down their anger. But this approach doesn’t help you get to know what’s on your child’s mind that you may be able to help him with using your Parental Intelligence.
Parental Intelligence is an approach that leads you to step back before proceeding. Pausing and observing what’s going on may lead you to get some ideas about what’s going on with your child. Then self-reflecting and noticing your own feelings about the way you are being treated may help you continue to calm down and start to make sense of what’s involved in your kid’s attitude.
Now that you are calmer, you may notice that your child is, too. So there are immediate effects to using Parental Intelligence even for the busy parent.
Next, it’s time to converse with your child or adolescent if they are up to it. Simply saying, “Something seems not okay for you. What’s up? What’s the matter?” Of course. this must be said in a nonjudgmental, non-blaming tone to be effective. If your child feels like they’re being accused of something, he’ll shut right down. So gently proceed. If your kid doesn’t respond, then just add, “If you want to talk, I’m here.”
The effects will probably be immediate. Your child or teen will either begin to chat slowly and you can listen attentively, or they’ll at least start treating you in a reasonable way and maybe go to their room to get some space.
In either case, you’ve made progress. Your angry child is settling down a bit and hopefully, you’ll get the opportunity to find out what’s underlying the anger.
With Parental Intelligence you see angry feelings as communications not as something bad or wrong. Anger is painful and distressing. Your kid needs your compassion. This is not the time to be yelling at him to shape up. Again, this will only exacerbate the situation and your child will shut you out.
Busy parents will find that using their Parental Intelligence actually solves problems more quickly than jumping into consequences for behavior you have yet to understand.
When you use Parental Intelligence you find that your child or teen becomes more resilient and open to disclosing what is on his or her mind. You’ll find out that the teacher scolded your son or your daughter just lost her boyfriend. Whatever the case may be, you will now become a confidant and ally, regardless of how you were initially treated when your child arrived home. The initial angry attitude has shifted and your parent-child relationship has deepened.
Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., is a psychoanalyst and author of Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child’s Behavior found on Amazon and wherever books are sold. Visit her website for more guidance: http://lauriehollmanphd.com.