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Parenting Tip

October 23, 2013

Don’t Take The Bait

Be careful when your children bait you and try to draw you into a fight. If you’re easily sucked into an argument with your child, it may be an indication that you need to do some work on your own anger.

It’s amazing that children are smart enough to find those buttons that will set us off, but what’s more amazing is that parents take the bait. A child may say, “You never let me have a snack,” and the parent all of a sudden is ready to fight. Or the child says, “Dad wouldn’t do it this way,” or “I don’t want to go to school,” and Mom goes into a tirade. Children know what it is that gets us. If you find those opportunities irresistible then you need to step back and deal with your own anger.

Now, don’t get us wrong. Children who engage in manipulations like that need to be disciplined, but they don’t need anger. There’s a difference. Your anger points out a problem. That’s what anger is good for. It tells you something is wrong. But anger isn’t good for solving problems.

When you’re tempted to get drawn into an argument, step back and evaluate the situation. Maybe it’s time to change the buttons. Often, your children need limits placed on the way they’re relating. Be careful to respond to your kids with appropriate discipline instead of reacting in a way that joins into their foolish arguments.

This parenting tip comes from the book, Good and Angry: Exchanging Frustration for Character in You and Your Kids, by Dr. Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller, RN, BSN.

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