Ever get mad at individuals because of the poor choices they make? Get frustrated because they should know better? Just because people know what to do does not mean they are able to do it in stressful situations. Although at times we all make poor choices, many behaviors are the result of knee-jerk reactions. Reactions are based on feelings, and thus, are not thought out, nor always rational.
When we encounter a person in reaction mode, our first response should be to breathe, stay calm and model appropriate behaviors. If we lose control, we only escalate the situation, as back-and-forth reactions often lead to power struggles. Don’t try to reason with the individual. Our primary job is to de-escalate by using less words, listening and walking away, if needed.
Once individuals calm down, they are more likely to respond to our feedback rather than defensively react to it. Additionally, when we rationally discuss situations, we can all learn from our mistakes and develop plans for how to better handle problems in the future.
PS – Teens live in reaction mode. It’s normal. Expect it.