As parents, we’ve all lost our temper at one point when our children misbehaved. If you’ve never lost your cool, let me tell you that you’re a mythical creature and should be riding on a unicorn right now.
I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve lost my cool. Well, that’s if I had limitless fingers.
When it comes to getting upset, one thing I can say is that I’m a much calmer parent than I used to be. Now don’t get me wrong, I still get upset, but it’s not something that happens daily or even weekly.
So what’s my secret? Practice is my secret.
Because it is my goal to be a more peaceful parent, I’ve committed myself to being mindful of my behavior. If I find myself getting outwardly angry, I will apologize and explain why I was wrong. By doing this, I’m showing an example of how one should behave after they’ve misbehaved.
Here are a few tips I have to help you stop yelling at your kids and keep calm when you’re angry.
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How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids
Realize It’s Not About You
As parents, we tend to take our kids behavior personally, as if it’s a personal attack on us.
Try to remember that your kids aren’t intentionally trying to make you upset. They’re kids, and oftentimes they don’t know how to handle their emotions when they can’t get what they want. These emotions tend to come out as anger.
When these emotions come up with your child, try to remove yourself from the equation. This will help you more objectively see what they’re going through and think of how you can help.
Be Their Guide
As parent’s, you won’t always be there to tell your children how to behave. It is our responsibility to teach them so that they can’t make their way through the world successfully.
The best way to teach them isn’t by always being their dictator and laying down the law. When you dictate your child’s actions, they won’t learn how to make their own decisions.
By letting them make their own decisions (within boundaries), and guiding them when they need help, we are teaching them valuable lessons that will follow them for the rest of their lives.
Find Out What They Need
When your child is misbehaving because things aren’t going their way, and you’re feeling angry, threatening them or yelling at them, you aren’t being helpful. Try putting yourself in their shoes for a moment. Imagine being smaller, and ask yourself how you would feel or react if someone bigger and more powerful than you were yelling at you or threatening you when you’re upset.
Would you find it helpful? I don’t think you would. I’m also willing to bet that you wouldn’t like it, and you may even resent the person. So what would you like? Perhaps a little comfort, calm conversation, and compassion. This is not to say that you can’t provide a restraining hand if they’re going to hurt themselves, or stern words.
Take a Timeout
Once you’re at the point where you feel angry, I’ve found it best to walk away, take a few deep breaths, and calm down. Talk to your child once you’ve calmed down and can think straight.
I know this can be difficult to do because as parents, we want to dive in and take care of the situation immediately. However, it’s a lot more difficult to talk calmly and make good decisions when we’re upset (this goes for kids too, by the way).
Take a Breath
When you see yourself stressing out, or getting angry, but you haven’t reached full on anger yet, take some time out to breath. Stop for a second and feel how stressed or frustrated you are.
What you’re feeling is perfectly normal. Have compassion with yourself in this moment. Perhaps once you’ve relaxed a little bit, you can see that your child frustrated as well, and needs your compassion too.
Recommended Reading: Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting
Make a Commitment with Them
I told my children that I am working on being more mindful with them, and I asked them to watch me. If they noticed me losing my temper, I would put a dollar in a jar, and use the money to get ice cream with them.
This has really helped. It’s allowed me to be more conscious of my behavior, and I have yet to put enough money in the jar to buy ice cream. Don’t worry though, we still get ice cream.
Know That You’ll Mess Up
Expect to mess up from time to time. Having difficulties is to be expected, just make sure you learn from them.
If you stay mindful of the difficulties as they’re happening, see them as a positive step towards being a more compassionate and mindful parent.
Instead of feeling bad about your actions, review them, and see where you can improve. Next, give yourself a plan for the next time this happens.
It’s important to plan things out when you’re calm, instead of deciding how to handle them once you’ve already gotten upset. As things go wrong, adjust your plan as needed, and you’ll find things getting better over time.
A problem that we have as parents is holding on to this vision of what it means to be an ideal parent, and how our children should behave. The truth is we are not ideal parent’s and they are not ideal children. We are all real. We have our faults, we make mistakes, we need help, we get angry and frustrated.
They key is to figure out how to better behave when we get angry, frustrated, etc., and show our kids how to do this through our example.
Accept your children for who they are, faults and all. Give them all of your love and hugs. I’ve found hugs to be a more effective teacher than anything else in my parenting toolbox.
I hope these tips will help you keep calm as a parent and stop yelling at your kids.