What is your best tip for not losing your temper with children?
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Sadly, though I'd love to say it never happens in my home, it does! I've really found the Mama time out to be helpful. Sometimes removing yourself from the situation for two minutes, (like in a locked bathroom, LOL) giving yourself space to breathe without being touched or whined at, can make all the difference. Of course, you have to be prepared for the sweet little cherubs you're sneaking away from, to follow you, knock on the door, try to talk to you under the door crack, and generally try to weasel their way inside.
Just breathe... And remember this time passes quickly, and in twenty years you'll be missing this.
First - try to recognize the basic premise that usually parents would never lose their temper that way with anyone who isn't their child. Knowing this is easy - remembering it in the heat of the moment is the only challenge you have - good to know, you can do that!
Second - pretend this isn't "your" child. How would you teach, show, tell and help any other child on earth how to handle this particular situation better? You can imagine that, right? This isn't your child, this is a child of the universe, or a young soul needing guidance who trusts you and someone who, down the road, will appreciate your respect.
Third - plan ahead, now. If you want to breathe, make sure you do that. If you prefer to have the dialog along the lines of "well, how do you think you would handle this moment if you were mommy or daddy?" Believe it or not, this has actually worked for me, and taken the sting out for everyone. It becomes a discussion about how we act, what feels good and how we can move forward.
Is it easy? YES! It is easy - I promise. When we see kids as people longing to get along and learn then we have changed the game, they pick it up quick because they are so intuitive. We uplift them, help them adore their options and want to try out new behaviors. Overall, they actually know in their gut fighting takes so much more energy than being happy and having fun. If there is anything I've learned, it's that the more "adult" and "serious" I might be, the more my kids do something to snap me out of it, and back into the loving person I was born to be.
Before you blow up, take a few seconds and breathe. Really. A good deep breath can do wonders to dissipate anger and frustration.
Also try to realize that whatever the kids did they probably didn't do on purpose to upset you (usually).
stop ,go calm down then talk to the child,eye level to make sure they hear you and understand.ask them what you just said to make sure they understand what punishment or praise they are to recieve.after you calm down ,put yourself in the childs place.do not put a ridiculess punishment on them that you cant stick to.be very firm but not down -right crule.remember you were them before.
Think: ¨What´s the best way to deal with this?¨. The answer: ¨not loosing it¨ is the first that should cross your mind. Then, you probably need a moment or more to think about what to do. Only do something you thought about. That´s responding instead of reacting.
I think it's healthy for kids to know that parents have a range of emotions, just like they do, so you can talk about that together. But when I feel like I'm *really* about to lose it when my 5 and 7-year-olds act up, I tell them I need a "Mommy Time Out" because I can't think of anything to do but shout. I make a little show of stepping back (or out of the room but within sight), closing my eyes, taking a deep breath, standing up straight and calming down to center my thoughts. Then I say, " Ok, let's talk" or "Ok, let's solve this problem." I try to model what I'd like them to do when they get mad at each other - namely remove themselves to cool down instead of bark or bite.
The first thing to do is BREATHE and count to ten. This gives you a chance to calm down before you try to deal with the situation. Talk to your children in a calm voice. You can convey displeasure more effectively if you speak to them in a conversational tone. For older children tell them what they have done to upset you and then ask them what do you think Mom should do? For smaller children tell them what they have done and give them some time alone to think about it. Just try not to yell because that simply will upset you and them and nothing gets resolved.
From my own limited experience (first-time father of a 2 year-old boy) here are the top 5 tips to myself:
4. Ask for help.
BONUS: Read through all the other comments here! I find great wisdom in others and I'm sure you'll find things that read true for you in several of these posts.
Don't hang out with them. ☺
Remember that it is not as effective as being calm, patient and loving. If you lose your temper they get upset and defensive and can easily end up with an attitude. On the other hand if you talk to them calmly you can still discipline them but in a rational way, and they are more likely to learn from it. You can choose either way, it just takes a bit more of a struggle to be patient and calm sometimes! 'A gentle tongue breaks a bone'.
Acting not reacting is the key. My son can take me over the edge sometimes (he is the mini version of myself) and I have to make sure that the things I do are not a reaction to his defiance but that I am doing something that will make the situation better - freaking out and yelling improves nothing (not that I haven't lost it once or twice).
My best piece of advice is to not react at all for at least 5mins. Take a few minutes to assess why you are annoyed, frustrated or furious and then look past it and come up with a solution that is going to make the situation better for everyone. Taking away 'screen time' doesn't make my life easier in the short run but long term he knows that I mean business and can remain composed and calm while I am dishing out the consequences!
I must step back and take a look at myself, my actions and my attitude. If I want to be effective with my Children, I must target at their hearts. It's all to easy for me, to scream and shout. That is very simple to do. I must be firm, loving and sincere with the way I choose to instruct my children. Rather than screaming, with a demeaning voice. I Praise their efforts, I tell them how wonderful of a job they do when I need them to get things done.
Encouragement is effective and especially boys they thrive off encouragement and praise. I tell my children how much I appreciate their help. They cleaned their room, my reply; "Wow what an amazing job you did! You room is shining. Thank you so much for your help. I am so thankful.
My children are 3, 4 and 6. I thank God for He shows me how to raise them. What also helps is for me to think about, how did I feel as a child, when I was so often yelled at? When all I wanted, was love and just a hug.
It reminds me to stay calm, say a prayer and ask for the LORD'S help.
Another thing I do with my children when they are not listening. I ask them; "so if you get married someday and have children how will you feel when they don't listen to you? How will you discipline them? My 4 year olds response; " I would pray for them." Wow, now tell me that isn't Amazing! I was amazed to hear my son's response. Great answer!
What works? Encouragement, dedication, love, prayer and GOD'S Glorious ways.
Who, on this earth, is perfect?
Note to self: Lighten up and love those children. :)
Remember that anger is always a secondary emotion, not the first one that you felt...working through our own issues with anger, i.e. - learning about healthy ways to feel and express our own anger is so necessary...when that occurs, anger at children usually melts away...but WHILE that process is underway, a good game plan is to tell your child(ren) that you are getting angry, and you will need a little time out...and take one! During the time out you have time to think through and discover what the true source of the anger is: shame that your children aren't "under control"? feat that you aren't a good enough parent, or that you don't know what to do? Grief over having to repeat yourself one more time? Once identified, the primary emotion can be addressed, and overall, the children have learned a healthy, valuable lesson about anger (see, you really can be a good example, even in the midst of 'going through the going through'!)
Don't have kids? Just kidding.
Walking away is the best thing I can do to buy myself the five seconds (or five minutes) I need to think through how to respond. (Note: be sure the kids are relatively safe before walking away.) There are so many things that can set me off - running late, frustration from disobedience, lack of control, messes, the question "Why mommy?" for the 27th time - that each situation requires a thought-out response. If you lose your temper, you have chosen NOT to think through your response. I have found that I have much more leverage if I calmly respond.
First and foremost, as a parent, it's important to remember to breathe. Secondly, realize you're dealing with a child and it's not about you. The need to control the situation often ends up escalating the problem when immediate results don't occur. Taking a detached, almost unemotional response will often result in a more favorable outcome.
I've put myself in timeout a few times. It allows me to calm down before I have to deal with them. And yes I put myself in timeout spot too. The kids leave me alone for a few minutes and I can regroup before I deal with them.
I realized long ago that losing my cool got me no where with my kids, so I stopped doing it. Of course, every once in a while, I start to lose it but when I remember it doesn't help at all and only makes my kids feel terrible, I stop.
It's better to stay calm and try to get the kids to do as they are supposed to or, if necessary, give the consequences.
Keeping a calm voice makes it easier to get the kids to follow my lead. They are great kids and don't lose their temper very often either... Except for my 4 year old, but we'll get there.
I can hold on to my emotions when I remember that this phase will not last forever. As my children grow, they need me in different ways. In addition to being my "mother-self", I have other roles I play in the world, even though the mother role seems to be crowding out all the others at the moment. Motherhood is a big change, but it really is the start to a whole series of changes that continue on for a long time. Changes can be uncomfortable and chaotic, but they also can give us a jumpstart into something new and valuable.
What really helps me is to realize what they are capable of at a given age or situation. When I give them a little room to wiggle (literally!) they are less cranky and I am less frustrated. I often become most upset when my expectations are unreachable.
I usually want to explode when one of them is taking too long to do something, eg. getting out the door in the morning. We usually have bags of time anyway, so I just decide to sit down and chill. After all I'm not going anywhere else at that particular moment.
Sometimes though, especially with teens, it's OK to lose your temper. There is usually a lot more at stake with teens and sometimes when you play nice, they think they've gotten away with something, or that you're a pushover. Every once in a while a raised voice stops them in their tracks. As long as you don't rant for too long; then you just look like the lunatic parent that they already think you are!!
One thing to think about is that your child is watching and will copy everything you do. So if you want a child who can self-discipline or self-regulate, than discipline yourself not to lose your temper and punish in anger. Always take five and take a breath.
I've found that distracting myself from the situation and doing something productive always helps remove my emotions from it. I focus on wiping down a counter or some other mundane household task. Being in control of even this small act buoys me enough to keep me from losing control.
What are your thoughts?
The saying "Know thyself comes to mind" for me. As a parent you have to be in control, and to be in control you have to know what your "I'm going to lose it" triggers are.
I can handle almost anything my boys throw my way, unless I've been ignoring my needs. A good night sleep (which is about six hours ~ sigh) and I can deal, keeping my sense of humour intact, and defuse explosive situtations before they happen. Too little sleep and I lose focus, get impatient and can be a real grouch. With my husband it is lack of food that turns his cranky dial. He is peachy unless he's hungry, and the boys now know to make him a PB & J sandwich which always bring him back to a happy daddy.
The bottom line is take care of your needs and indugle in a bit of pampering. A 15 min home facial treatment, or a half hour with your favourite author, can help push your reset button for a happier parent.
What are your thoughts?
Sometimes when I find myself getting frustrated and angry with my children it is because they are exhibiting irritating behavior that I have not acknowledged to myself it bothering me. For example, my six year old has gotten "huggy". What's wrong with hugging? Well, if a hug turns into hanging onto someone's neck and not letting go, it is no longer a loving thing to do. Yet, I let this behavior continue because I felt like a bad mom for correcting my child about a hug! When I finally dealt with my own feelings about it, I realized that I needed to teach my child that he was irritating everyone (not just me). I also made sure that he wasn't doing it because he felt neglected.
Most of my anger and frustration went away when I finally admitted that the behavior was frustrating me and frustrating others.
Sometimes it's OK to lose your temper, as long as it is done in a controlled way. I like to put a bit of a scare into the kids every once in a while! When it is not OK to lose your temper, I use a trick on myself that I use on the kids- I take a "time out." When daddy takes a time out, the kids KNOW to chill. I don't get mad when milk gets spilled, or an accident happens or even when a 3 year old gives herself a haircut. What upsets me is when the kids act disrespectfully to us or each other. When those situations escalate (and they often do with 4 girls in the house), I very calmly tell the offenders that if they can't work things out themselves quietly and civilly, then I will work it out for them. They know from years of experience that neither one of them will be happy if I have to referee, so that usually puts an end to the unpleasantness.
When I feel really frustrated or personally affronted by my daughter, I try to imagine what the situation is from her perspective. Does she feel that she is being violated, somehow? Is she lacking in sleep, food, daily routine or some other essential that helps her stay balanced? Often times, I realize that I have been tense or frustrated, that I have been short with her, and she is feeling insecure. I try to put myself in her shoes, and usually I do not feel angry any more. She is usually trying her best, as am I. We are human. I try to be honest about where I am at, and this often opens the conversation to see what is happening on her end of the equation.
When these more mature, diplomatic methods still leave me angry, my husband lets me punch him in the arm for a minute, and I feel better.