Parenting is hard, and it’s even harder when you have to deal with another parent who is angry with your child. Fighting with other parents can lead to stress and bad feelings that can impact all parties involved.
But there are ways to handle these situations without making things worse or causing more issues between both parents.
The key is being respectful and open-minded, but also firm in what you want from the situation. Here are some tips for how to handle another parent yelling at your child:
The urge to defend our children hits us like a freight train. We are wired as parents to protect our kids, even when they aren’t in danger.
The urge to defend your child hits you like a freight train. We are wired as parents to protect our kids, even when they aren’t in danger.
And it’s hard not to get angry when other adults yell at them—especially if their behavior is a result of your own parenting mistakes or shortcomings.
But before you launch into some kind of defense speech, consider this: Your child needs you more than ever now. This isn’t the time for silence or placation; it’s time for action on behalf of your kid!
Take a step back
Take a deep breath. You may have just been hit with a gut punch, and you’re feeling defensive or angry. You may be tempted to jump in immediately, but take a moment to reflect and breathe before you respond.
This will allow you time to think through your response so that it’s more thoughtful than reactionary.
Don’t let your emotions get the better of you. Dealing with difficult situations requires emotional intelligence, which means taking control of our emotions instead of letting them control us (or others). In this case, don’t let anger lead your decision-making process—instead take some time to think about what’s best for both parties involved before responding at all.
Realize there is another side to the story
As a parent, you’re probably used to being the expert in your child’s life. When it comes to parenting, you know what’s best for your child, right?
Well…maybe not always. There are many times when parents can be wrong about things—whether it’s giving them too much or too little freedom or going overboard with punishment.
The point is that sometimes other people have better ideas than you do, and when they express those ideas, it doesn’t mean they’re trying to take over your role as “the dad.” It just means they want what’s best for their own children too!
If this happens—and if there is more than one parent involved—there are two different approaches you can take:
- Take a step back and try to understand why the other parent might want something different from what you want (and whether there is any merit in their point-of-view). This isn’t always easy but it can help keep emotions out of the equation so everyone stays calm and focused on figuring out what works best for everyone involved.* React emotionally because this other adult has dared say something against all of your years of experience as a parent without asking first!
Don’t let your emotions get the better of you
- Don’t make assumptions.
- Don’t get defensive.
- Don’t take things personally.
- Don’t argue, or apologize for your child’s behavior.
Acknowledge the other parent’s perspective if you will see them again
If you don’t know the other parent well, it can be helpful to acknowledge that you understand why they are upset and frustrated. You can say something like “I know you’re upset,” or “I know you’re angry.” This lets them know that you care about them and their feelings, even if you do not agree with what they are saying or how they are behaving.
Additionally, if it appears that the other parent is losing control of their emotions while speaking to your child, simply letting them know that this behavior is inappropriate (without calling out specific actions) may help calm the situation down.
Take control of the conversation
- Focus on the problem, not the person.
- Don’t let emotions get in the way.
- Don’t take it personally.
- Don’t use sarcasm or insults (e.g., “I’m sorry you feel that way”).
- Don’t make threats (e.g., “You’re going to be sorry!”).
- Don’t get defensive, saying things like “My child is perfect!”
Remember that everyone makes mistakes
Ultimately, there is no way to guarantee that your child will never experience another parent yelling at him or her. But by following these tips and being aware of the situation, you can make sure that when it does happen, your child will feel safe and secure in knowing that they have a loving parent who understands their emotions.
If you’re ever feeling like your child’s other parent is too overprotective or interfering with his or her life (or yours), consider looking into family law attorneys in your area.
If you need to talk with another parent about your child’s behavior, having an open and respectful conversation can help your child learn from their errors
If you need to talk with another parent about your child’s behavior, having an open and respectful conversation can help your child learn from their errors.
Try these tips:
- Listen to the other parent’s perspective. Try not to counter-argue or defend yourself or your child. Instead, try putting yourself in their shoes and empathizing with them. This is especially important when dealing with tense situations like playground fights between kids or when one child has been bullying another.
- If you are upset, take a moment before speaking up so that you can calm down and focus on what is best for your kid(s). It may be difficult at first but if it helps keep everyone safe, try not being defensive during the discussion; instead focus on learning more about each other’s concerns so that everybody feels heard.
- Be respectful by avoiding criticisms of appearance/personality (“You’re just mean”) or making statements such as “That was all my fault” or “He/she deserved it.” Keep things positive by focusing on solutions rather than assigning blame (even though there may be some truth behind who started things—that doesn’t mean they should always get punished). For example: instead of saying “My son would never hit someone else over something silly like this,” try saying something along the lines of “I know how frustrating it must feel when someone hurts our feelings accidentally.” This way both sides feel acknowledged without putting anyone down which will make any future conversations easier going forward!
Next time you find yourself in a situation where another parent is yelling at your child, remember to take a step back and weigh all of the facts before reacting. It’s important to acknowledge another person’s perspective and try not to get defensive.
You might even want to consider talking with this parent in private so that it doesn’t escalate into an argument between both parents. Ultimately, though, it’s important for everyone involved to stay calm and rational; this will lead to more positive outcomes for everyone involved!