Parenting stress: Keeping your cool
Sometimes our emotions get the best of us.
It happens when time is running short. Maybe the day is winding down and there are still 10 more things to tackle on the to-do list. We know this: we lose our cool when we’re under pressure.
The key to maintaining composure is two-fold—know what pushes your buttons and plan your reactions. Easier said than done.
How you are feeling, your kids are feeling, and what happened can all trigger a reaction. Has the day been really long? Have you been cooped up in the house all day? Do you desperately need alone time? Are the kids hungry or need to get outside? Does your son have a tough class? Is your daughter dealing with tough friendships? A day’s events can sneak up on all of us.
Many times it could really just be the series of events. Kids do things that irritate us and disappoint us. Sometimes it is deliberate; many times it is a poor choice. Our duty is to do our best to remain calm and stop yelling.
Techniques to keep your cool
- Walk away from the situation. Take a break. Ask your spouse to take over the reigns while you step away for a few yoga breaths. If no other adult is around, let your kids know that you “need a time out.”
- Guide the behavior. Be firm. Kids need to be told when behaviors are not appropriate or are unacceptable. They are also need to be told why. Rather than say “stop doing that” give them explanation. Use positive parenting to guide good choices.
- Make the statement. “I am very mad right now.” It gives a verbal warning and uses words to communicate. Allow time to calm down for you or your child.
- This can be helpful for both you and your kids. It gives warning and allows for time to calm down. Use with caution. If you state “you have to the count of 5 to clean up your toys…” make sure you are prepared to enforce the consequence you state. “…or they will be thrown away.” Will you really throw them away? Be sure your consequence is realistic, just in case they call your bluff.
- Talk it out. Kids at certain ages may need to talk it out. Acknowledge your child’s feelings and lines of communication will open up and continue to grow.
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