We know we shouldn’t shout at (or smack) our kids. We don’t want them to learn that this is how you solve problems. And there are other ways to gain cooperation.
But sometimes frustration and anger boil up inside of us unsuspectingly and before you know it we have lost control of ourselves. We may have said things we regretted, really frightened the kids by yelling, or even worse they laugh at us and don’t take what we say seriously.
So today here are some tips to keeping calm and being a patient parent.
1. Learn new techniques to engage cooperation. There is a whole chapter with ideas in my favourite book “How to Talk so Kids will Listen and Listen so Kids will Talk.”
2. Try to diffuse the situation by empathising with your child. Say, “You wish you could stay at the park/you didn’t have to have a bath/you could stay in your pyjamas” instead of “don’t …”
3. “Stop, drop, breathe” – repeat this to yourself to calm yourself down.
4. Choose not to scream – make a pact with yourself that you will do something but screaming is no longer an option. Check out the Scream-Free Parenting website.
5. Get help from your partner to take over before you boil over if they are available.
6. If alone and not coping, make sure your child is safe and go to another room to calm down.
7. Once you feel yourself losing control, count to 10 in your head before doing anything. Think, “What do I want to do here?” or “How am I going to handle this?” You can’t always control what your children do, but you can choose what you do.
8. Remember that no one is perfect – use it as an opportunity to show your children how to apologise, eg, “I’m sorry, Mummy shouldn’t have shouted.”
9. Keep a diary of at least one happy thing each day – being in the trenches every day with young kids is hard work (mixed with a lot of joy). But some days it is hard to see the good things. Make an effort to record one nice thing about your child/ren each day. Looking on the bright side really does help.
I just heard about this website which I think could also be really helpful – The Orange Rhino Challenge – a 365 day journey to yell less and love more.