Listening to Teens Can Get Messy

We were surrounded by foam peanuts. I don’t know how anyone can be oblivious to foam peanuts on the floor, but she was! She was talking happily to me about this, that, and the other, with a big smile on her face, when I felt this really strong urge to take some of those peanuts and throw them at her. So, I picked up a bunch of them in my hand and, in slow motion, with some soft dramatic noises, I slowly inched my way toward her with the foam peanuts.

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Helping a Child Go From Tantrum to Intensely Focused

His frustrations grew. “This is impossible to solve. I can’t do it. Why is it so hard?” I stayed with him and listened to his feelings, mostly with reassuring noises and a few gentle words like, “I’m sorry this is so hard for you. I’m sorry it isn’t easier.” I also added, “Let’s put it away right now and get down to some math,” to which he said, “No, I’m not going to do any math until I solve the puzzle.”

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