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Modern Day Meltdowns


If you’re like me, I was raised in the era of stern voices and spanking. Just the threat of the wooden spoon and we snapped into order. But what we know now begs for a different tactic on this discipline style. Spanking and yelling at kids teaches them that it’s ok to hurt people when you’re angry or frustrated, even ones you love. And studies have shown a strong association with spanking and later child aggression. So what is the best way to handle your child who is actively having a conniption?
A lot of this comes directly from The American Academy of Pediatrics and healthychildren.org, an excellent resource for many of your kiddo questions, anything from nutrition to discipline, advancement in milestones to health.
But let’s start with some ideas for helping you manage some of the more…difficult times with your school-aged children:
  • Working through some reasoning with them on difficult situations, and the good and bad of different choices can help while they are at an age where right and wrong are starting to make sense
  • Reward good behavior! Talk about your expectations of their behavior (ie, you will make your bed and brush your teeth in the mornings before school) and when you catch them being good, positively reinforce this!
  • You are what you eat! No wait, that’s not right… you are your child’s mirror for behavior! Just think twice before swearing at someone while driving, or yelling at the ref at your kid’s soccer game. They are sponges still at this age and model themselves after you and your behavior
  • Not something from the AAP site, but something I’ve read before and I think makes sense. They come home from school exhausted, and we grill them about their day etc. With how busy our lives have become, we don’t give them a lot of downtime, so something you can do is just come home and play a board game together. Let them decompress from the craziness of the day. You may get more than “nothing” when you ask what they did that day.
For older kids? Like adolescent/teenagers? Here are some tips to help keep your sanity:
  • Power struggle much? The most important thing to do as your children starts to demonstrate their further need for independence is to provide unconditional love and support with clear boundaries and expectations. Simple, right?
  • Stay involved with your kids. Talk to them, every day, and know who their friends are. This is SO important. Studies have shown that kids who are connected with their families make safer, better choices.
  • Be a role model! Notice, I repeat this. It never ends.
  • Same with praising them! Praise their good choices, their grades, etc! We all do well with a little praise. I’m not talking participation medal for everyone, but positive reinforcement is always good!

Have tips to share? Comment below!


About Amanda Magrini

Amanda Magrini
Amanda Magrini, MD, is a board-certified family medicine physician at Northern Nevada Medical Group’s Los Altos location in Sparks. She completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Nevada, Reno and her medical training at the University of Nevada School of Medicine. Dr. Magrini has practiced family medicine for seven years, including residency, and enjoys her specialty, because she likes taking care of the whole family, from newborns to grandparents. She likes preventative medicine, helping people take care of themselves and the relationships she is able to form with her patients. Dr. Magrini grew up in Sparks, NV and likes that it is a safe place to live with great educational opportunities and beautiful scenery. She thinks Northern Nevada is a great place to raise a family and looks forward to raising her own children here. In her spare time, she enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, camping, boating, running and traveling the world. Dr. Magrini is also very close with her family; she is married to her high school sweetheart and values spending time with him and the rest of her family. Disclosure: "The author is a licensed physician practicing with Northern Nevada Medical Group, but all opinions expressed are solely the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Northern Nevada Medical Group or any other affiliates of Universal Health Services, Inc."

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