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How to Calm a 10-Year-Old

by Maria Magher, studioD

Your 10-year-old hasn't entered the stormy teen years yet, and he's well out of the toddler and preschool years. Yet he might still be prone to outbursts of anger and frustration as he starts navigating the transition to those more independent teenage years. When your 10-year-old becomes angry or upset and is yelling, hitting or throwing objects, remain calm, show empathy and help him work through his feelings.

Remain calm. The Empowering Parents website notes that if you get angry yourself or challenge your child, you will only make him more upset, and you will lose control of the circumstance. Remaining calm allows you to help your child work through the issue, and you model appropriate behavior in the process.

Allow your child to experience the feelings. Many parents try to stop their children from crying or feeling angry, but Empowering Parents notes that it is important that parents allow their children to feel their feelings so that they know it is OK to have them. Everyone gets upset or angry at times. Your child should know that it is OK to feel this way and that he won't lose your love for not being "good."

Set limits on actions, not behavior. If your child starts throwing objects or hitting you or his siblings, psychologist Laura Markham, writing at AhaParenting.com, says that it is important to say something along the lines of "I see how upset you are, but I can't let you hit." Hold your child close or take away the objects he is throwing.

Show empathy. Children need to have their feelings validated. Sometimes, just showing empathy can tell them that you understand how they feel and that they are not wrong for having those feelings. Saying something along the lines of, "I understand that you're disappointed you couldn't stay out later with your friends. I know how frustrating that can be" can help your child feel heard and understood, which can reduce some of the frustration or anger he feels.

Get to the root of the issue. If your child seems exceedingly angry about an issue, he might have another reason for it. Maybe he's upset that he can't sleep over at a friend's house because he's feeling as though the kids in his class don't like him. If you are able to talk to your child through his anger, you might be able to get to the bottom of the problem and talk about these feelings.

Try a "time-in." Markham says it is important not to send your child away when he is feeling upset or angry. This leaves him alone with his big feelings and sends the message that they are a problem. Instead, remain close to your child. Offer hugs if he will accept them, or talk to him if he will listen. Otherwise, just remain near until he has a chance to calm down.

About the Author

Maria Magher has been working as a professional writer since 2001. She has worked as an ESL teacher, a freshman composition teacher and an education reporter, writing for regional newspapers and online publications. She has written about parenting for Pampers and other websites. She has a Master's degree in English and creative writing.

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