Hardly a week goes by that I don’t deal with a situation involving a child or teen (or tween!) in a family reacting with extreme anger at home. This can come out in countless different ways, and in both physical and verbal forms. Many parents throw their arms in the air in frustration, or worse, “fire back” with similar intensity, and only worsening an already challenging situation. How can this vicious cycle be stopped?

Though every scenario is different, one of the first and most effective ways to defuse this anger is to simply be present and listen. When we choose to hear what the other person is saying, and actually consider the merits of what is being said without feeling threatened or overly defensive, interesting dynamics often result. Notice that I used the word “hear”, and not “listen”. There is a difference between these two terms, which I will expand upon on Wednesday.