I love writing a parenting newsletter for Sesame Workshop. It’s one of my fun assignments, if only because I can document what’s going on in our household. I write about what the kids are doing, parenting challenges, what tactics we use to survive it all, etc. Since I don’t journal, it’s a way of preserving memories.
Only here’s the thing: After I write a newsletter, a “panel of experts” on the Sesame side reviews it, weighing in on whether I’ve just given good or bad parenting advice. Imagine having a panel of experts milling around your house, raising a red flag when you’ve just done a poor bit of parenting. That’s kinda how it feels.
Recently, for example, I wrote about helping my kids handle feelings of anger or frustration. As in, what do you do when your 6 year old and 4 year old are both yelling at each other like two drunks, and you figure that at any minute, Patrick Swayze is going to have to come over and ask them to leave the bar? What sorts of tactics can you use to help them channel their emotions so they can have a non-yelling conversation?
One tip (which I heard from a mom friend who has twins) was to let your kid hit a pillow. You’ve heard this advice before, right? It’s nothing new.
Here’s what the expert panel said:
The act of hitting, even when directing the action at an object like a pillow, can actually strengthen angry emotions and increase children’s (or adults’) angry feelings rather than dispel them. We recommend sticking with the other great ideas — taking a deep breath and counting to ten.
In other words, hitting a pillow makes you angrier. Even though this wasn’t technically my advice and I don’t use this one at home, I still felt a bit like one of those parents on “Supernanny” who’s just been caught on videotape doing something patently bad.
That’s all to say that you and your kids may want to steer clear of this anger-management tactic.