October 31, 2022
4 Parenting Tips for Chaotic Kids
Written by Sara Lane
Are your kids having meltdowns? Can’t get your teen to listen? Do you feel out of control as a parent? If so, you’re not alone.
In this article, we’ll show you 4 parenting tips you can try with your family to foster respectful communication and connection.
These parenting tips are meant to be used on “those days” that feel like a parenting battlefield, where things feel absolutely out of control.
4 Parenting Tips to Support Peace & Inspire Confidence
1. Decrease Chaos
High volume and energy levels can make parenting difficult at times, but that chaos could be a cry for love.
While it is important to set healthy boundaries with your child regarding noise and chaotic behavior, acknowledging the deeper root issues may help you develop a better aimed strategy to avoid catastrophe.
Wondering how to prevent the next meltdown?
Try this: Special Time!
Special time with your child can look unique to your own preferences. In fact, it can be as creative or as low key as you make it!
Simply put, special time is meant to reserve a personal time with your child to foster connection and creativity.
Spending quality time together is a great way to build a connection with your child. Moreover, it’s one of the MOST POWERFUL strategies you can implement to decrease chaos in your home.
Here’s how this might look with your child:
Step 1: Let your child know that you will be having special time with them. They can choose whatever activity they want to do with you!
Step 2: Give a time frame – 5 min, 15 min, 30 min. Focus this time on playing or an easy activity you can do at home vs a “treat” such as getting ice cream.
Step 3: Relish this quality time! Invest in connection to avoid emotionally empty love tank meltdowns later.
Some strategies to consider when implementing special time include:
- Focus on doing this with just ONE parent. The other parent can have their own special time.
- Let your child determine the rules, what to play, what to do, etc.
- You are getting on their level and speaking their language – play!
- For an older child, ask what they would like to do together. Here are some creative ideas you can suggest for special time if your child can’t think of anything:
- Pick a few from the get respect from kids doc that are more activities you would do with your child.
- Then outside of special time, offer other fun ways to build connection with your child (and pick some of the short ones).
- In Houston?
Watch as this game plan redefines your one on one time, and refills your child’s emotional love tank. We’ve seen lots of success with this strategy, and hope it helps you and your family!
2. Expect Respect
Respect is an essential part of any relationship and an important building block of your children’s social foundation. By showcasing what you expect from your child, you model healthy attachment behaviors both now and for the future.
Whether your child neglects to show respect or whether it’s a work in progress, these strategies are meant to help you and your child grow in connection with each other:
- Look for hidden reasons behind their behavior. This can be a strong emotion, fight with their sibling, or other reason for lashing out. Since children are only just beginning to learn how to use words to express their feelings, they may need direction to speak up about their feelings in a respectfully healthy way.
- Listen to them. If something feels off, ask your child what’s going on. Chances are, you’ll show them you care and get them to disclose a deeper issue.
- Make a connection. Try to reassure your child that you care about their needs and feelings. When children feel safe in their environment, they’re less likely to act out.
- Be willing to be flexible. If your child repeatedly shows disrespectful behavior at the park, try changing your routine (temporarily or permanently). Communicate a baseline of healthy behaviors, even when it means changing your schedule if possible.
- Meet them where they’re at. If your child is stressed and emotional, it may be difficult for them to go into detail about what’s bothering them. You can explain to them that disrespect is not ok, but then consider sitting with your child and helping them calm down until you both can talk about better coping strategies.
- Accept them for who they are. Even though they may be making poor behavior choices, reassure them that you love them even when they aren’t being “good”.
- Be intentional. When you make a promise to show up or complete a project, be sure to follow through. This communicates a sense of safety and reassurance to your child.
- Involve them in plans. Autonomy is an essential part of a healthy human experience. By allowing them to make small decisions, your child learns trust and becomes invested in the experience.
- Problem solve with them. Try tackling the problem together. Instead of you against your child, try fighting the problem with your child.
3. Foster Connection with Creativity
Start with some of your favorite things to do together with your child. If you’re looking for connection ideas, here are some activities to try:
- Bake a cake together
- Write down one thing you love about the other person
- Try a scavenger hunt
- Color together
- Have a picnic lunch outside
- Before bed, share 3 things you’re each grateful for
- Write each other hidden notes around the house
- Give your child your full attention
- Have a blanket fort sleepover
- Make up a dance
- Watch a movie with snacks
- See who can make each other laugh first
- Draw together
- Snuggle time!
- Try an online yoga class
- Remind them of something funny they did when they were younger
- Play ‘Guess the number I’m thinking of’
- Look through old photos
- Go for a walk
- Ask a question and really listen to the answer
- Make up a silly poem or song together
- Give them a hug
Enjoy special time with your child in a chaos-free environment, and watch your relationship grow!
4. When Words Don’t Work
When stress builds and chaos roars in your home, try these calming strategies to promote sanity and restore peace:
- Go to a safe space (eg. bedroom)
- Use fidget toys
- Use a weighted blanket
- Walk away
- Wall pushups
- Blow bubbles
- Sensory play
- Heavy work
- Chew gum
If your child is in nonverbal communication mode or is just too chaotic to have a conversation with, try sitting beside them and wait for their emotions to simmer down. If you feel they’re ready, try putting an arm around them as you sit silently.
There’s no need to say or do anything. Let them try to find their own calming mechanism.
In severe cases, this may not be the right strategy for your child. However, it may work if you catch the situation right away.
For more communication resources with obstinate children, try using these coping strategies with your child.
Personalize Your Game Plan
When you feel like you’re at the end of your emotional rope with your family and you just need a break, consider child counseling, play therapy for children, behavioral therapy for children, teen counseling, or family therapy.
We offer a wide range of counseling services, including online therapy, to meet you where you are.