Learn How to Help Angry, Frustrated Children

Kirk Martin and his son Casey give presentations around the country

Lies About Parenting from Kirk Martin

  • If you do everything right, your home life will be perfect. You can’t do it all. Do not compare yourself. You cannot make every situation right or manage everyone’s emotions. It is not your job to make everyone else happy, you’ll only make yourself miserable. Learn to say no, and make yourself a priority.
  • If you were a great Mom, your kids would be well-behaved all the time.
  • Kids are supposed to act like kids. They are supposed to push the limits, explore, color outside the lines, poke things and people.
  • You are responsible for your child’s happiness and choices.
  • No you are not. Your child is. You are responsible for modeling behavior and teaching your children how to control themselves. But if you can’t control your own emotions, how can you expect your kids to?
  • How to behave when your kids misbehave
  • A parent’s job isn’t measured by how their kids act. Rather, it’s how they respond when their children act up. Seeing a child throw a tantrum in aisle 4 at WalMart isn’t surprising; watching the child’s parent throw a tantrum is disturbing.

Source: celebratecalm.com

“I hate you.”

If you’ve ever thought you’re the only parent who’s heard those words from their child, good news, you’re wrong. Kirk Martin, a speaker coming to Thornapple Kellogg schools in March, has had many people tell him they’ve heard these words. It’s the sign of a power struggle, and that students don’t feel good about themselves, he said.

“These are very frustrated kids,” Martin said, “but they probably can out argue you.”

Mary Holwerda, a school counselor for 12 years at Thornapple Kellogg schools, agreed frustration has become part of life for many students and parents. She’s seen an increase in the number children who are experiencing stress, anxiety and worried thoughts, she said, and it’s led to requests from parents for their child be placed in small group counseling. “They are asking for support with helping their child to communicate their difficult feelings and providing strategies for coping with difficult feelings,” she said, adding “angry boys” have especially become a problem.

Power Struggles

In his presentation called “Celebrate Calm,” Martin will talkabout the communication issue. Children really don’t hate their parents, he said, but they need to get to the root of the problem of why their children are so frustrated. When a child doesn’t do chores or homework, a typical response from parents is to take a privilege away. That method most parents were raised on doesn’t work any more, and the first step in solving the control problem is for the parents to change their own ways, Martin said. Rather than doing that, parents should “figure how why (they) are struggling and how you can help him,” he said.

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Celebrate Calm

Linda Odette
Linda Odette is a freelance writer and editor with more than 30 years of experience in journalism. She’s worked primarily as an editor in feature departments at newspapers in West Michigan, including the Grand Rapids Press, the Muskegon Chronicle and the Holland Sentinel. She lives in East Grand Rapids near the Eastown edge, has a teenage son and a daughter in college. Read Linda's full bio

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