A Quick Understanding of Chutzpah
SHIFI LIEBERMAN, LMFT
Tools to Deal with Chutzpah:
Our understanding of Chutzpah: an inappropriate response to an emotion.
Practice the skills we learned in the course on YOURSELF:
- Identify your OWN emotion
- Manage the Emotion by understanding YOUR triggers (in the video, this would be your child walking in so tense) and preparing for the trigger in advance so you can stay calm
- KEEP CALM! Choose one of the Calming Down ways we discussed in Section 3. And think aloud so you can model calming down (as well as tolerance for your children!)
- Use the PROBLEM SOLVING sheet to figure out how you are feeling. One of those options may be to communicate to your child how you’re feeling when they’re acting out (but don’t do it in the moment. Remember this isn’t always about you. It’s about meeting the child’s needs!). Or giving them space. Or often, chutzpah is a time to evaluate if what your child is saying is actually true. Chutzpah is an alarm for us that we need to take this child seriously and he has a message for us.
Take time before you respond to “chutzpah”! Reacting to the content and not focusing on the process is parents Number One mistake when dealing with chutzpah.
If you think filling out a sheet is too corny for your child, then at least communicate it to them when you are both calm.
For example: “I was feeling worried about you, frustrated that you made everyone crazy and disappointed that you didn’t eat supper when you walked in today. The problem was that the rest of the family was enjoying supper and I felt you had upended everything. I knew something must have been bothering you. I could yelled at you - but that would have made you angrier. I could have punished you, but that would not have solved the problem and I really wanted you to eat. I could have shmoozed with you- but you weren’t in the in mood, and honestly, neither was I … so I decided to ignore it to wait to speak to you. But don’t think I’m 'letting you get away with it'. However, after doing a Problem Solving Sheet, I realized, this is the best option for us right now.”
- Natural Consequences are my favorite for Chutzpah. Your expression of disappointment is the 'ideal natural consequence'. If your relationship with your child is close and secure, then you disappointment will typically get felt by them. That’s the power of empathy- as we discussed!
- Sometimes just a finger pointing “no” serves as a reminder that this isn’t as appropriate. That’s what I want from us. Speeches don’t work. Ineffective. And poor modeling.
When the child feels bad enough by themselves, they don’t need punishments. Typically. In cases where it’s getting more and more severe, please reach out for more guidance. There’s often something else going on — all the more reason to not punish chutzpah. Btw :)