Asking a child what they want for breakfast can be all that it takes.

They react as if the world is over, throwing themselves to the floor and sparking mutual fury – all in a split second.

Whether you’re a parent of a toddler or teen, you know the feeling.

So how do you control your own reaction in order to defuse the behaviour that set you off?

‘What to do When Kids Push Your Buttons’ is a workshop for parents experiencing separation who find it difficult to stay calm when confronted by particular behaviours.

The child might refuse to go to bed or eat their dinner. Perhaps they throw a tantrum when asked to pick up a toy, turn off their device, or hop in the car.

“It’s all age groups and not just really young children; teens often push our buttons too,’’ said Clare Bowyer, Educator and Counsellor at Centacare.

Based on the work of parenting specialist Bonnie Harris, the workshop supports parents to probe their own buttons, where they come from and how we can step back and respond rather than react.

“A child might swear at you,’’ said Clare, “but if you react to that and say `how dare you?’ the situation is likely to escalate.

“If you look at it from another perspective, and don’t take their comment personally, you will likely see they are having a problem, not being a problem.

“Usually the child is angry about something. It’s about looking for the root of the behaviour rather than just what we see on the surface.’’

Parents learn how to respond calmly and effectively by looking at their own beliefs, expectations and assumptions, and adjusting them accordingly to regain their child’s cooperation and respect.

For more information about this course, please phone Centacare on 8215 6700.