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  • Writer's pictureAlley Dezenhouse Kelner

Instead of "Calm Down" Say...

Instead of “calm down” say “you’re mad”.

Why “you’re mad” works—

•it labels the emotion (that's an important skills),

•it validates the experience (that's important for empathy),

•it says “I see you” and more importantly “I hear you” (that's important for the relationship);

•it supports connection (that's vital to actually calming down).

Why “calm down” doesn’t work—

•no one has ever calmed down because of being told to 🤦🏻‍♀️,

•it doesn’t help your child understand what they are feeling (“what are these big feelings?!”),

•it doesn’t help your child label and communicate the feeling and finally it doesn’t help you connect.

“Calm down” is often a knee jerk reaction that says more about how our needs (for a calm child) are not being met than acknowledging what your kiddo needs from you (neutrality, connection and often co-regulation). Take a beat, breathe deep, and say “you’re mad.” It’s ok just to hold space, just to be in the moment without offering a solution (like “you need to calm down”).

You’ve got this! You’re resilient and so is your kiddo. 🧘‍♀️🧘🏻‍♀️🧘🏼‍♀️🧘🏽‍♀️🧘🏾‍♀️🧘🏿‍♀️ Questions? Let me know!

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