Your kids are driving you completely crazy and every single time you lose your patience, you wish so much you could be a calm mum.
If you are feeling this way, then you are in the right place. Join the club.
I feel this way on a near daily basis.
No matter how many times I tell myself that my children behave in such a difficult and challenging way because they are, well, kids, I still cannot prevent the loss of my cool.
You can tell yourself a million times that you need to be the sensible, calm voice of reason.
But our emotions are hard to control, especially if you add in fatigue and all of the other stresses in life such as work and chores.
As parents it seems like we scarcely get a chance to draw breath. And yet we hold ourselves up to extremely high standards, because we want our kids to get the very best. And that includes the best of us.
When we react in anger, losing our calm parenting manner, it usually happens because we’ve just been pushed too far.
We react with emotion, and that rational part of our brain telling us this is just a child, you’ve got to bite your tongue, goes out of the window.
What causes parents to lose their patience?
How long have you got? Having chatted to my fellow mum friends and discussed our low points in motherhood, we seem to have very similar experiences.
The key triggers that may cause you to be a stressed-out mother include:
- Bad behaviour
- Disobedient behaviour
- Refusal to cooperate
- Breaking things in the house
- Dangerous behaviour
Losing patience may sometimes happen when you’re faced with one major incident with your kids, but more often than not it’s cumulative.
You may react in one huge, blowout meltdown, or just be grumpy and short with your kids.
Whatever the nature of your negative reaction, it doesn’t feel great.
We all probably had an image of how we would be as a parent before our kids came along, and shouting and screaming probably did not factor in!
It’s important not to beat yourself up too much when you do lose your temper, but it’s hard not to do so.
The best way forward is to find coping mechanisms to help you stay calm in the face of your kids driving your mad.
See the bigger picture
As grown-ups we know the rational approach to parenting.
You should maintain patience and calm, because by doing that we are teaching our kids to manage their emotions too. They learn by seeing how we behave.
This is one of the biggest reasons why we kick ourselves so hard when we do lose our cool. You worry you’re setting a bad example for your kids.
But more than that, none of us want to be a bad parent. The love you have for more child is completely all-consuming.
As a parent, your child is completely perfect. Sure, you recognise they may have flaws, but none of that matters to you because you have unconditional love.
And so when you shout at your child, have a conflict with your child and upset your child, you feel terrible. You may feel like you’ve let them down, and made things worse.
For me when I’ve lost control of my emotions and become angry with my children, I always feel like I’ve just made the situation worse. Even knowing that emotion in advance, it’s so difficult not to lose control of my cool when faced with certain stressful situations.
This is why often I find it can really help to take a step back from the situation when it’s becoming too much. As soon as I feel like I’m losing my calm, I try to zoom out from what’s happening.
When you’re living life in the bubble that is motherhood, it can be easy to become overly consumed with the little stresses of the day.
I like to think about how very lucky I am, both to have my kids and that they are healthy, happy individuals.
I try to remind myself of all of the days when I was trying to conceive and how very much I wanted to have my kids.
Now, this should not be a cause to make yourself feel guilty for losing your temper, or coming close to losing your temper.
We are all human, and getting annoyed at challenging parenting situations is totally understandable.
This is simply a coping mechanism you could try to use when it feels like it’s all getting too much.
7 effective ways to control your anger with your kids
Let’s just say straight up front that if you do lose your temper and shout, yell, can’t stand to speak to your kids for an hour, that’s just life.
We are all human, and we can only take so much. This is especially true if you’re exhausted.
But there are a few things you can do to help keep calm as a mum, even on the hardest of days.
First of all, before any of these coping mechanisms, there’s a lot to be said for the old favourite “count to 10”.
It can give you a chance to reset and really think before you react based on your emotions.
If that doesn’t work, try some of these great ways to control your temper and be a calmer mother.
Take a break from the kids
It sounds obvious right, but sometimes you just need to walk away. Take yourself out of the equation and give yourself space.
When you have young children this can be really difficult to do, because leaving them unsupervised is likely to just make the situation worse.
Try to have a safe room where you can leave your kids for a couple of minutes while you step away to reset.
Scream into a pillow, take deep breaths or punch the air. Whatever you need to do to work out your stress, take a few minutes away from your kids to do it.
Better yet, if you can take regular breaks from your kids in order to let you destress that’s the best way to prevent becoming overwhelmed in the first place.
Accept the chaos
Often we lose our temper because we are fighting against the reality of parenting. We want the house to be tidy, but the kids keep emptying bucket-loads of toys onto the floor.
We want to get out of the house on time, but the kids won’t put their shoes on.
As soon as you try to accept things just are the way they are, you will stop fighting the situation and therefore become less stressed out by it all.
Have stock answers
When faced with certain stressful situations it can be really helpful to have standards answers or stock phrases you say in reaction. This can prevent you from letting your emotions do the talking for you.
For example, when it comes to dinner time battles, I’m firm with the kids about needing to eat their dinner before anything else. I repeat the same phrase and there’s no debate about it.
My kids may still become agitated, but I stay consistent that they have to eat their dinner before having any dessert.
Distract the kids from negative behaviour
Head off the negative behaviour by pulling out distractions.
Often kids will behave badly or cry because they are bored or overtired.
Make sure your child is getting adequate naps or quiet time so that they can relax and recharge during a busy day.
Also have a stash of emergency stickers or colouring books you can pull out if your child is becoming bored or agitated.
Often recognising the signs of negative behaviour and heading them off in your child first can save you from becoming too stressed as well.
Sit down and talk about boundaries
Talking about your problems is the best way to resolve them. That includes with children.
If you have lost your cool, then sit down with your kids and have a discussion with them.
Tell your child why you lost your temper and be clear about what boundaries you have set for them.
Explain what made you angry and tell them what you could both do differently in the future. This will help educate your child about appropriate behaviour and give you a chance to explain why you lost your temper.
Get a change of scene
Sometimes you can head off losing your cool by getting out of the house.
Try to avoid anywhere that usually makes your stressed out. Take a walk and the get some fresh air.
A change of scene can help both you and your child to chill out, and hopefully forget about what was stressing you both out.
Channel your energy elsewhere
If you’re losing your cool then sometimes just using that energy in other ways can help you to stay calm as a mother.
Cleaning is a great way to let out your frustrations when the kids are pushing all of your buttons.
You could also try folding laundry or tidying away the kids’ toys. Just make it something that helps your brain to switch off and try to forget about what was stressing you out.
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