Would you like to help your kids stay clear of the dreaded red zone? Would you like to spend less time there yourself? Try HALTing!

People in addiction recovery learn the acronym H. A. L. T. to identify four triggers that exacerbate their cravings: hungry, angry, lonely, tired. The word “halt” literally means “to come to an abrupt stop,” and taking a quick personal H. A. L. T. inventory does just that: with practice, it can be used to derail your child’s temper tantrum train.

The ingenuity of H. A. L. T. is that these four simple descriptors account for a vast swath of negative human emotion. (Sometimes they don’t, but I’ll talk about that in this episode!) My point is that giving our kids words to describe their tricky emotions allows them to understand WHY they feel the way they do. It also helps them develop habits of healthy emotional management. Remember: if you can name it, you can tame it.

As you arm the people in your four walls with emotional knowledge, and as you continue to give yourself and others grace and compassion, you’ll be able to make sense of tricky emotions together. If my family and I can do it, you can do it too!

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