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Kendra Acts Up

Kendra, age seven, bounded in the kitchen. She seemed excited after her day at school and the brief ride home with mom from her after school program. Mom said: “Well, Kendra we’re home. Now we can be together for the evening. You can have some milk and crackers while I start supper.” Kendra replied: “I want some cookies, not crackers. That’s what I want to eat today for a snack.” The sudden change of tone caught Mom by surprise. “I’m glad you let me know what you want Kendra but, supper will be soon and today you can have crackers!” “I don’t want crackers!” sulked Kendra. Mom replied, “You certainly don’t have to eat them or even drink your milk, if you don’t want. As I said earlier, I’m fixing supper soon, you can eat the crackers if you want a snack.” Kendra glared at the milk and crackers as she continued to pout.

Suddenly Kendra moved her arm and sent the milk and crackers flying.

Mom moved quickly to her side and said “Kendra! You are angry, aren’t you? I guess you really wanted to show me how angry you are.” Kendra reached out to eat one of the remaining crackers. Mom restrained Kendra’s arm and said, “Alright, Kendra, you’ve made a bad choice. You won’t have a snack tonight because of the decision you’ve made.” Next Mom guided Kendra to a sponge, water and towel. “No!” Kendra yelled. Still calmly and firmly retaining Kendra’s arm, Mom said “Sweetie, if you throw stuff on the floor you’ll be the person cleaning it up.” Kendra struggled to get away. Finally Mom took Kendra to the other room and held her until she calmed and relaxed. At that point Mom and Kendra returned to the scene of the spill while Kendra cleaned up the area. The two then continued their evening after Kendra told mom what she will do next time instead of acting out her feelings.

A tough moment in many households. How did this mother handle her own feelings and the actions and feelings of the child similarly or differently than at your house. Mom conveyed an attitude of empathy and compassion about the child’s feelings, yet held her accountable for her actions. The processes changed the child and gave an opportunity for the child to mature beyond conflict.

Children need both connection and accountability to do well. Here at Sudsberry and Associates we teach parents to be successful and their children to mature. Let us support your family’s journey. Contact us today.

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