1. When they are required to think of others.
2. When they are in competition with others or jealous of siblings.
3. When they do not receive enough attention and approval.
4. When they are forced to follow the rules.
5. When they are hit or yelled at.
6. When they have their things damaged or taken away.
7. When they are hurried or rushed.
8. When they feel others have more.
9. When they feel frustrated by not mastering a skill.
10. When they feel a situation is not fair.
All of these situations are opportunities to teach. Avoiding these situations or punishing children for feeling angry can hinder social-emotional development. Allow children to feel their emotions and teach them socially acceptable ways of expressing them. Set up appropriate boundaries by acknowledging your child’s feelings while clearly communicating and maintaining the limit and offering acceptable alternatives. The steps to set an effective limit can be summed up with the acronym “A.C.T.”
A - Acknowledge the child’s feelings, wishes and wants.
C - Communicate the limit in terms of safety
T - Target acceptable behavior
A few examples of the A C T process in action are:
“Seems like you’re frustrated with this puzzle. Throwing puzzle pieces is not safe. You can throw the sponge ball inside or throw a regular ball in the back yard.”
“You wanted to see what was outside the window. It’s not safe to climb on the dresser. You may climb on the play gym at the park.”
“You wanted to get my attention. It’s hard for me to breathe when you squeeze my neck so hard. If you want my attention, you can touch my arm.”
Click here to read the entire Conscious Discipline article and more details on Conscious Discipline's "A.C.T." steps.
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Jenny Barkac is our CMYK Kids Leader. During the week, she works with schools and parents around the United States as a Conscious Discipline Certified Instructor. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the CMYK Community.