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The Alexa Incident

How to stay calm when your kid starts getting emotional. And the benefits of being able to stay calm under fire.

Let me tell you about the "Alexa incident".

First, some background.

Recently, my 4 year old daughter has become very sensitive to loud noises, especially around dinner time. When she hears a loud noise, she runs and hides behind the couch.

So yesterday, my son was tired from the first two days of school of the year, and in a foul mood. During dinner, he was taking out his bad mood on his sister, constantly making loud noises to scare her.

Finally, I told him to stay quiet, that I didn't want to hear any more noises from him while we were eating dinner.

He stayed quiet for a short while. But then a lightbulb went on inside his head, and he shouted, "Alexa, make a loud noise".

Before Alexa could make a loud noise, I jumped up, unplugged it, and put it on top of the kitchen cupboard. "No more Alexa in this house!" I shouted, very angry.

Now my son started crying and shouting. "It's unfair! I didn't know she doesn't like loud noises." He started getting angrier and angrier.

Normally, when my kids get emotional, I struggle to keep calm myself. I tend to get upset, and then the situation escalates even more.

Luckily, earlier in the day I had re-read the interview with Sarah Rosensweet that I did for my book "How To Get Kids To Listen".

Sarah is a certified peaceful parenting coach, speaker, and educator and runs the top-rated parenting podcast, The Peaceful Parenting Podcast.

In our interview, Sarah shared something that stuck with me as my son started getting more and more angry. When I asked her what parents can do to stay playful and calm when their kids are getting emotional, she said:

I think the first thing that you want to do is remind yourself that you know your child is doing the best they can. That they're not giving you a hard time, they're having a hard time. They just really want to keep playing, and that they don't share your same perspective, that it's important to get to bed, or it's important to get ready for school. And that they do want to be good.

And so, I think that can really help us when we can shift that perspective to not feeling like a victim, or that they're giving us a hard time, when we can just remind ourselves that they're acting like children because they are children. The important thing to them is to play. That helps us to shift to be much more compassionate and patient.

Sarah Rosensweet

So, while my son got angrier, I just kept reminding myself "he's acting like a child because he is a child". Instead of getting angry myself, this time I kept calm and just acknowledged his feelings. "You're feeling angry. You feel it is unfair that I took Alexa away."

The results surprised me. He soon calmed down, and, on his insistence, we sat down and wrote down some "Alexa rules" that we both could agree too. This emotional episode turned into a positive problem solving experience for us both, just because I was able to stay calm and not escalate the situation.

In our interview, Sarah shared several more techniques for staying calm when dealing with your children.

You can find the full interview with Sarah Rosensweet - How to create a “win-win solution” when dealing with your children - here.

Talk soon

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