Losing our temper with our kids sometimes doesn’t make us bad parents; it’s just part of life with little ones. But when our explosions become habitual, when we’re losing it on a regular basis, then it’s a problem. It’s a problem because it increases the stress levels in our home, weakens our relationships with our children, and to top it all off, it rarely solves any issues.
We don’t have to be perfect parents. We just have to seize those opportunities to realize when we’re off-course and find ways to start moving in the right direction. They need a parent who models how to take responsibility and make repairs. A parent who apologizes and reconnects when things go wrong — as they inevitably do sometimes in human relationships.
Remember: If you manage to stay levelheaded instead of losing your temper, your child will eventually learn that she can keep calm too. Here are some “stay cool” strategies to try the next time your kid’s behavior gets your temperature rising:
1. Commit to NOT TAKING ACTION while angry.
When you notice that you’re getting upset, that’s your red flag reminder to stop, drop (your agenda, just temporarily), and breathe.
2. Remind yourself to see the situation from your child’s point of view.
3. Restore calm and safety.
Take a few deep breaths. Switch gears emotionally by finding a more positive thought. Then, if you’re calm enough, reconnect with your child and try a “Do Over.” If you can acknowledge your child’s feelings, it opens the door to reconnecting. Empathize with why they’re upset. Set whatever limit you need to. Modulate your tone and keep breathing. Remember, anger doesn’t dissipate until it feels heard. So, listen and try to understand.
4. Always apologize after you lose it.
Remember that you are role-modeling, both when you yell and when you apologize. Resist the natural impulse to blame it on your child by saying that if they would just act right, you wouldn’t yell. It’s always your responsibility if you yell, and no child (or adult) ever deserves to get yelled at.
5. Avoid a Repeat.
Ask yourself, “What’s one thing I can do so I don’t lose it next time?”
Coach Benjamin Mizrahi. Educator. Learning Specialist. Family Coach. Father. Husband.
More articles on Mr Mizrahi's Blog - Benjamin Mizrahi