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If You Have Nothing Nice to Say

by Michele | March 24th, 2016 | Behavior, Tweens
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shhThe tween years can be trying. For everyone. As the parent, you may be feeling frustrated with this hormonal, pre-adolescent person, but remember, he or she is feeling that frustration, too. Of course, frustration is not a get out of jail free card for poor behavior.

The key piece of advice I have for parenting during those moments of frustration is based on something my mom used to say:

If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all.

So, how did I implement this advice, besides seeking quiet instead of complaining?

There are several steps that can be taken. First, encourage your child to ask for space and time when in a bad mood. Teach him to verbalize this, “I’d like to be alone for five minutes so I can calm down before we discuss this.” Take this time for yourself to relax also. Grab a cup of tea or water. Read a book. Fold laundry. Don’t sit and ruminate. Unwind and wait for your calmer tween to reappear.

Second, teach her the value of keeping thoughts to herself. No one can control what anyone else thinks; you can’t be disciplined for this. However, if you speak unkind thoughts, there can be repercussions. This is a life-long skill. Think about the number of times you’ve thought a boss, colleague, etc. had a ridiculous idea, but you couldn’t say anything. Yes, keeping those thoughts in your brain came in handy. It’s fine to think something is stupid, but it isn’t always beneficial to share that.

Third, explain that when he can discuss the issue in a calm and kind manner, conversation is welcome. As a tween, there may be topics that he can’t discuss rationally, even though he feels passionately about them. That’s ok, but he also does need to know that doesn’t allow him to rant, rave, and tantrum over those topics.

While we want our tweens to be empowered to speak their minds and know that their thoughts are valuable, they also need to be cognizant of others’ feelings. Saying angry words won’t solve the problem, in fact, it may make things worse. Teach your tween to use self-control in order to find a better end to a difficult situation.

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