Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Defusing an argument

While walking through the grocery store yesterday I observed a power struggle/argument between a boy, maybe 6 or 7, and his mother over his slowness of movement. What started as a "Let's go. I'm in a hurry" soon escalated to a shouting match between the two. She finally literally dragged him out of the store so mad the veins in her head where protruding. She was so angry that I'm sure if I had not been there, a physical altracation would have occured.

I wanted so much to pull her aside and give her some tips to defuse the fight and probably get him to do what she wanted. I didn't have a chance to tell her that this kind of interaction never solves anything. And the parent is always in control..... so she could've tried some other tactics before it became a full blown standoff. I'll save some of those ideas for another blog.

But her first move should've been---never engage with a fighting bull. No matter what you say will escalate the emotions. After a hurtful thing is said by the child, go blank. Don't say anything, just stand, smile and look into his eyes. Don't say a word. The silence tells the child you are not going to enter into battle with him. And then (in the grocery store situation) keep on moving. He will catch up. You have given him an opportunity to think about how he wants to behave instead of reacting! You've planted thinking seeds!

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