You come home from a hard day at work and your kids start pushing your buttons. They fight with each other, beg to do something they know you will not allow or even ignore you when you are trying to talk to them. Crying always gets a reaction. Children cop an attitude and you lose it. You react angrily and might even yell at them. You end up more stressed than ever and feel inadequate as a parent.
There are some secrets for keeping your cool and your sanity.
1. Your child will calm down when he sees that you are under control. A quiet atmosphere is contagious. Speak in your inside voice. Do not make any threats unless you intend to carry them out. Let him know that whining, crying or hysterics will not sway you. There needs to be an adult in the room and that is you.
2. Decide how to react ahead of time. Make a conscious decision that you will not react with yelling or threats. You notice times when your kids are stressed out. After school until bedtime can be one of those times. There is dinner, homework, and preparations for the next day. The kids may be argumentative and confrontational. You can’t control how they react, but you can control how you will deal with it.
3. Think of things that make you feel calmer. It could be words you say to yourself. Emphasize the reaction instead of the emotional. You could remember that this too is temporary and your kids will be grown before you know it. Think of how precious they are and how they need a calm mom. Meditation, prayer, music or any other stress relieving activity will also help.
4. Don’t take responsibility for things that your child should be responsible for. You can show him how to do his homework but he is responsible for completing it. Make sure he does his own chores and takes responsibility if he does not. You have enough issues to deal with so don’t take on his.
When he takes responsibility, he learns to handle his own problems, an ability he needs throughout his whole life. He learns that there are consequences for not doing what he should do.
We all have bad days, even the kids. We can make allowances for grumpiness and a ‘who cares?’ attitude. We can’t control how another person feels or acts but we can set the stage for a better mood by controlling our reactions.