top of page
  • Writer's pictureDr. Emi Garzitto

Managing Difficult Conversations With Your Children Cheat Sheet

Creating systems and strategies in the home that help children develop the skills required to hold difficult conversations

·      Tasks that are repeated over time, train the brain.

·      Positive Activities to Promote include:

·      Positive Self Talk

·      Independent Morning/Evening Routines

·      Family Chores

·      Quiet time

·      Unstructured Play

·      Consistent morning and wake up times.

·      Consistent family “rules of engagement”

·      Predictive behaviour and routines

·      Practice with uncertainty

·      Role modelling healthy risk taking and making mistakes

·      Limit electronic time (60 minutes a day maximum and 2 hours before bedtime)

·      Limit/eliminate high carb/highly processed food. Include more protein and more vegetables in the diet. Include cultured food (yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kim chi)

·      Include opportunities for unstructured play (sand, outdoor activities, Lego, theatre, forts, castles)

Provide a framework when dealing with children who are angry and upset.

The explosive Child by Ross W Greene

   Behaviorally challenging kids are challenging because they are lacking the skills to not be challenging kids are lacking the skills of flexibility, adaptability, frustration tolerance, and problem-solving skills most of us take for granted page 10

Unsolved problems are highly predictable. The belief that challenging episodes occur unpredictably or out-of-the-blue is usually incorrect.

We can front load most of our practices to deal with explosive behaviour

Sample Conversation

·      Jeffrey you are yelling in the supermarket. It is not okay to yell in the supermarket and you need to stop.  (That’s one)

·      Jeffrey I have asked you to stop yelling in the supermarket. You need to stop. (That’s two)

·      Jeffrey, you are still yelling.  That’s three.  Leave the supermarket. Jeffrey spends time in his room until he calms down.

Talking to your child:

·      Jeffrey are you ready to talk?

·      In the supermarket you got very upset when you did not get your choice to get the fruit loops.  What’s up?

·      So you felt you should get the fruit loops and you were very frustrated and angry that you did not get what you thought you should have.  is that right? What else?

·      So you think mommy should get you a treat when we go to the supermarket.  What else?

·      So you think it’s not fair that you don’t get to pick your cereal in the morning.  What else?

·      We are making lots of changes in the house and they are hard for you?

·      You like the way fruit loops taste and it was the favourite part of your morning so you are disappointed that you can’t have fruit loops, what else?

·      Okay, so how can we solve this problem?

·      Are you willing to experiment with different breakfast ideas?  What if we work together to come up with some ideas?

·      So, we are going to try some different ideas during the weekdays and you will get to eat fruit loops on either Saturday morning or Sunday morning as a treat.  Okay, that sounds like a plan. Let’s try this out and see how it goes.

How you say it is as important as what you say

·      It is important that you are front loading your conversations.  Talk about the changes you are making, before you leave to the supermarket you are going to face your child and remind them of your expectations of how they are going to behave.

·      Do your best to be even and non judgemental.

·      Stop what you are doing, focus on your child at the level of your child.

·      Name the behaviour without judgement.

·      Notice what is working and praise your child for what is working.

·      Never reward disruptive, volatile behaviour.

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page