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Dealing with Stressful Moments: 5 De-Escalation Techniques for Avoiding the Meltdown

You can see it coming…you’re out, running errands, and you’ve been in the busy grocery store just a smidge too long. The music is blaring over the loudspeaker, there are people pushing and shoving all around you, and the small behaviors that you have been noticing in your children over the past several minutes are becoming more and more frequent. 

Both of you are red-faced, overstimulated, and the little things are about to result in a very public display in a very public place. 

We’ve all been there…no judgment. But, how can we take what we’re learning about stress and its effect on the family and make these moments much less frequent? Let’s take a look…

5 De-Escalation Techniques for Parents

Remove yourself from the situation.

Perhaps the most important piece of advice I can offer is to give yourself permission to take a break. 

When I have had a stressful day at school, it is hard to handle the baggage my own children come to me with at the end of the day. I give myself permission to go on that run to burn off stress or lock myself in my bedroom and take some deep breaths before engaging. The moments when I say things I regret are much less frequent this way…you are NOT a bad parent for needing a break. You are a normal human with the need to decompress frequently to stay regulated.

Re-evaluate your “non-negotiables”.

Crisis Prevention Institute (2020) argues that it is wise to examine what you insist upon as non-negotiable. For example, if your child has a meltdown over showering before bed, is it really that important that they shower right then? Or can they get up and take a shower in the morning after a full night’s rest?

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