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Escaping From a Fight

You fuss at your daughter for teasing her brother, so she angrily jumps on her bike and pedals off -- around the corner and out of sight. What's your next move?

Go after her right away, says Tony Meyer, M.D., a child psychiatrist with the Aurora Health Care System in Milwaukee. But no matter how angry or scared you are, don't raise your voice or punish her. "All of us -- adults and kids -- sometimes feel like leaving the scene when we're upset," says Dr. Meyer. "Children generally act more quickly than they speak, so running away is pretty common."

Let your child cool off at home (do some deep breathing yourself!), then talk. This doesn't mean give in to her anger or change your response to her original misbehavior. Instead, discuss safer places she can go: her room, the basement, or even a backyard tree. Be clear that leaving home without permission is never okay. Most important: Tell your child you'd miss her if she ever really ran away.