Angry responses – escalating situations

A mom explained how their peaceful evening fell apart when her 4-year-old son, Carl, irritated his dad by refusing to go brush his teeth. By the time their short exchange had ended, she wished she could rewind the situation and start over.

Dad: “It’s time to brush your teeth.”
Carl: “That’s stupid.”
Dad: (now angry) “Go to your room! There will be no brushing your teeth or story time tonight.”
Carl: “You’re a poopy head!”
Dad: “You’ll also go without dessert for a week!”

Carl then began crying and thrashing around in his room. While the mom wanted to support her husband’s parenting decisions, she also really wanted to have story time and thought that denying Carl dessert for a week was too harsh.

When we’re upset, it’s easy to give consequences that are not well thought out. In this situation the dad could have bought himself extra time to calm down and think by saying something like “That comment really upset me. Please go to your room and I’ll talk to you once I’ve had a chance to calm down.”

It’s important for parents to back each other up in their parenting decisions whenever possible. This is certainly easier when parents agree on their parenting approach. One way to come to some common agreements is to take a parenting class together.

You can take the Priceless Parenting online parenting class together – one fee covers you and your spouse or partner – and you can take it at your own pace and from your own place!

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