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Your child walks away from you, goes into their room, and slams the door. Hard and loud. What do you do?
First of all, walking away and slamming the door is not acceptable. Period. You don’t get to do it and they don’t either.
That being said, now you have to access what has happened to lead to the door slamming. Is it due to an argument that kept escalating? Have you overpowered them? Backed them into a corner? Or have you handled it well, but they simply overreacted?
If you have some fault, leading with confessing your part can be super helpful.
“Hey, I didn’t handle that one very well, but I still need you to open the door. I realize I said some things that frustrated you, but we also don’t get to run away from the conversation like you did. Please open the door so we can talk.”
Sometimes the emotions may be too raw for them to open the door or to continue the conversation. It would be ok there to agree to a cooling off period for a few minutes.
“I get it that you’re mad, but we can’t let this linger. Can we agree for me to come back in five minutes?”
It’s also okay if they are angry. You want your child to feel like they can be angry and express it to you. Just not by walking away and slamming doors. As they come out, you can say something like this:
“I get it you are angry, and I want you to be able to tell me when you are angry. What is another way you could have told me about your anger without the door slamming?”
Another question to ask in these situations is this: Is this an isolated incident or is door slamming a consistent issue? If consistent, you might want to meet it with a punishment. Don’t take away their cell phone. Try to make the punishment fit the crime. Maybe they have to leave their door open for the rest of the day.
Bottom line is you want to address the issue without losing control yourself which is not easy to do. Door slamming can bring out the beast in us as parents. But especially if it is more the exception, you can see it as a red flag that your child is really upset about something, and it is a great opportunity to draw their feelings out of them.