By Sarah Hamaker
Q: My 14-year-old son slams his bedroom door whenever he gets frustrated, which is pretty much a daily occurrence nowadays. One time he closed it so hard, a china dog fell off a shelf and broke. Another time, he nearly closed the door on his younger brother’s fingers. I’ve tried everything to get him to stop, but nothing works.
A: Some kids like to slam doors more than others (I have a few in my house), but that doesn’t mean you have to live with breaking china. The solution is so simple, you’ll wonder why you didn’t think of it yourself.
When he’s at school one day, take the door off the hinges and store it offsite (in a shed, storage facility, neighbor’s basement, etc.). To get his door back, he must have a month of non-aggressive behavior when frustrated. Spell out exactly what you mean by this, such as no hitting things, slamming other doors in the house, throwing objects, etc.
If he says he can’t help it, remind him that we don’t have to be controlled by our feelings, that we can control our feelings instead. If he needs an outlet for his frustration, recommend jumping on a trampoline (mini ones are great for this), running around the outside of the house, doing pushups, counting to 100, and other steam-relievers. The more ways he has to funnel his frustrations, the better he will learn to control them.
At 14, he’s perfectly capable of not being destructive to himself, to others and to property. The sooner he learns this valuable lesson, the better for everyone, himself included.
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Sarah Hamaker is a certified Leadership Parenting Coach™ through the Rosemond Leadership Parenting Coach Institute. She’s also a freelance writer and editor. Sarah lives in Fairfax, Va., with her husband and four children. Visit her online at www.parentcoachnova.com and follow her on Twitter @novaparentcoach.