The question that comes up is: How might we react in the car, when are children are fighting and screaming, in a way that will calm the situation down immediately and also will send a strong message to the children that this is unacceptable and that next time their behavior needs to change drastically?
Here are some parent coaching tools to consider:
1) Stay Calm: Choose to stay calm in this situation by using one of many techniques such as breathing, positive self-affirmations and by asking your self the following questions:
- Is adding more yelling to the chaos going to help?
- Do I want to role model yelling or a more constructive behavior?
2) Be safe: If the situation in the car makes your driving unsafe, pull over and tell your children that they might be late to school, the party or their favorite activity because it is unsafe for you to drive like that.
3) Explain the rules: Remind your children the rules for car rides (that they suppose to know before entering the car) and stressing that the reason is safety, respect, sharing, taking turns and other values that are important to you as a parent.
4) Ask them the following questions:
What do you need to calm down?
How do you suggest resolving the situation?
5) Be predictable and consistent: Be ready to be late sometimes in order to make your point across. You want to come to a point where your children know that if they scream or fight in the car you will always pull over, ask them the same questions and will not resume driving until they are calm again.
6) Plan ahead and learn from experience: If you know that a certain toy is causing constant fight between your children make sure you have another attractive toy for them to choose from. If you know that thirst or hunger may trigger challenging behaviour make sure you have some snacks and water in the car.
Remember, using the parent coach approach in the car will not only makes your life easier but it will also give you another opportunity to teach your children some of your core values.