Kids can be great but there is always a time when they bring out the worse in adults. They know just how to push your buttons until you want to scream. I am not typically the one to keep my cool, but I am working on it. Here are some tips that might let you do the same.
Pick Your Battles
Sometimes parents seem to want to control every aspect of their kids’ lives. They tell them what to wear or pick the sports or other activities such as dance or piano for them to participate in. But it is easier (and more fun for the kids) to let them have a say in the activities that they do. And does it matter if their clothes don’t match? As long as their choices are within reason (such as dress code rules, age appropriate, budget restraints), then go along with it and don’t bother them about it.
You need to decide which issues you can let go and which ones you want to stick to your guns about. Not everything is within your control.
It is helpful to know which areas – such as trip to the store – might bring up problems. Perhaps you know that your child will beg for a new toy/snack or be bored after a few minutes. If you know this, you can either divert their attention or at the very least plan out what you will do when they behave in a way you don’t want. Thinking of your plan of action ahead of time is much easier to do than while you are in the midst of aisle 3 of the supermarket.
Understand the reason for your child’s actions
Sometimes realizing why your kids are acting the way they are – Johnny is overtired or Jenny has a crush on a boy in her class – can help you maintain your cool. When Johnny is on the verge of a meltdown, you can work on taking him out of the stimulating atmosphere for some quiet time (or a nap). Understanding Jenny’s crush can give you more patience as she tries on her third outfit of the morning. If you know James is immersed in building his Lego structure, it could explain why he didn’t stop working on it right away just because dinner is on the table.
Many parents lose their cool because they assume the kids are being intentionally disrespectful or are trying to annoy us when that could be completely untrue.
Know the Triggers
Kids learn that certain words or actions can send parents into a rage – and when they succeed, you as a parent lose. You are no longer in charge when you give away the power. The key to staying calm is to recognize when your kids are trying to push your button and get a reaction out of you. Avoid the trap by not over-reacting or if possible, not reacting at all.
If you do find yourself screaming, threatening or bribing your child, the most important step to regaining your cool is to recognize that you’ve lost it. You need to stop before you do or say something that you will regret. Often when you lose your temper, the original problem is forgotten and goes unsolved.
If you lose your temper
If you feel like you are losing control, sometimes the best answer is to remove yourself from the situation and cool down. Take some deep breaths while you remind yourself not to overreact. Concentrate on how you can best handle the situation in a positive way. It also might help to talk to someone else – a friend, partner, or neighbor – to gain a different perspective.
Later, don’t be afraid to admit to your child that you were wrong and what you will do differently next time.
Hopefully these tips can help you next time you’re about to lose your cool while dealing with your kids.