What This Is Like from a Parent’s Perspective


You know kids get frustrated easily. And you don’t mind when they get upset. But when they get upset over the smallest things…

…When they throw a fit because you don’t have a movie they wanted…

…Or when they refuse to eat because “you put the fork in the wrong place”…

…Or when they yell at their sibling because they looked at them the wrong way…

It can feel exhausting. You know you can’t give in to their every demand, but you’re not sure how to help them handle life when every little thing seems to bother them.


What This Is Like from a Child’s Perspective


Kids have an idea of how they want things to go in their minds — there’s a movie they really wanted to watch, or they just want things to be quiet and their sibling makes a noise — but they’re often told that things won’t go that way and there is NOTHING they can do about it.

Then they get upset and things just get worse. 

If they complain, they are told that they’re over-reacting.

If they try to stand up for themselves, they are told that they’re being dramatic.

They’re asked to “just deal” with what they’re facing, but often they don’t know how to “just deal” …without making a big deal. They don’t know how to control their feelings and they simply feel out of control.

How It Usually Goes When

A Child Overreacts


Scenario: Parker and his dad are playing a board game. Parker’s dad moves his piece the “wrong way,” and Parker loses it. 

Dad: Parker! What is going ON? I just moved my piece!

Parker: You weren’t supposed to move it THAT way!

Dad: What do you mean? I don’t even know what I did!

Parker: It was supposed to be the OTHER way! I SHOWED you before!

Dad: I’m sorry. But honestly, it’s not that big of a deal how I move the piece…

Parker: Yes it is! You have to do it THAT way.

Dad: Why? I won’t play this game if you’re going to try to boss me around. It may be fun for you, but it’s not for me.

Parker: Dad! You have to play!

Dad: Not if you’re going to tell me what to do.

Parker: This is so stupid. Fine. We won’t play!

Dad: Parker. We can play IF you don’t tell me how to move my pieces.

Parker:  But you DO it WRONG!

Dad sighs and walks away. Parker keeps yelling after him. 


How It Could Go When

A Child Overreacts


Scenario: Parker and his dad are playing a board game. Parker’s dad moves his piece the “wrong way,” and Parker loses it. 


Dad: Parker! What is going ON? I just moved my piece!

Parker: You weren’t supposed to move it THAT way!

Dad starts to get defensive but then stops.

[expand title=”CALM”]

Parker’s dad is frustrated that Parker is being so controlling. But he also realizes that if he tries to control Parker right back, the situation will only get worse.
So instead of focusing on trying to change Parker’s behavior, he focuses on keeping himself calm. He wants to show Parker what it looks like to act respectful even when things aren’t going your way. [/expand]


Dad: You wanted me to move it a certain way and I didn’t.

Parker: NO!

Dad: It’s hard when things don’t go the way you’d like them to.

Parker: Your way is dumb.

Dad: Yes, you’re certainly letting me know that.

[expand title=”CONNECT”]

Parker’s dad wants Parker to act differently. He also knows that Parker is struggling and that listening to Parker’s point of view will be more effective than forcing him to do something.

So he focuses on understanding Parker’s perspective rather trying to convince Parker to see his.  [/expand]

Parker: It IS dumb.

Dad remains silent. 

Parker: If you did it the RIGHT way, I wouldn’t say anything.

Dad remains silent. 

Parker: Aren’t you going to answer me?

Dad: Not yet.

Parker: Why NOT?

Dad: Because I love you too much to upset you more.

Parker (less angrily): That’s dumb.

Dad remains silent for a few more moments until he sees Parker start to calm down.

Parker: Dad, can we play?

Dad: Yes, Park. But I need to be able to move my pieces how I want. YOU should be in charge of the money!


[expand title=”CORRECT”]

Although he is respecting Parker’s perspective, Parker’s dad is still being firm with his boundary. He lets Parker know that he can’t always get his way, while also respecting that Parker needs to feel control over something.

He is being firm while meeting Parker’s need to release his Yuck and feel a sense of control [/expand]

Parker: Deal!

Dad and Parker start playing again and Parker stays calm because his needs have been met. 



Though Parker’s dad used the Calm, Connect, Correct strategy in the moment, proactive deposits will make all of the difference in how this situation will play out. 

If you want to give your child tools to be successful (so they can stop overreacting at the small things), remember: 


[expand title=”Depositing into CALM”]

You will only be able to stay calm when

a.) your own biological or emotional “needs accounts” are met (otherwise you won’t have a reserve to draw from and you’ll immediately go into Yuck)

b.) you recognize and respect that your children have different priorities than you do.

When you make sure your own needs are met and you set realistic expectations PROACTIVELY, you are more likely to be able to stay calm. [/expand]


[expand title=”Depositing into CONNECT”]

You will be able to connect if

a.) you respect that ALL behavior has a reason and

b.) you understand those reasons (in a case like this, kids often overreact when they feel out of control or disrespected).

When you become comfortable with the reasons behind behavior PROACTIVELY, you will be able to connect more effectively. [/expand]


[expand title=”Depositing into CORRECT”]

You will be able to correct behavior by offering a tool if

a.) You have demonstrated consistently in the past that you mean what you say when you set a boundary like “I need to play this game the way I want to play.”

b.) You have made enough deposits into your kids’ emotional needs that setting a boundary doesn’t put them immediately into Yuck.

When you demonstrate that you mean what you say and when you make deposits into your kids’ emotional needs PROACTIVELY, you  will be able to correct behavior more effectively. [/expand]