By Leslie Jackson
As a mom or a dad you love your children unconditionally, but lets face it…. Sometimes they can be incredibly frustrating little beings.
Most parents have fallen into a situation where their first instinct is to yell fiercely at their child. The urge to yell and scream is a natural consequence of anger. Then when you pile on the daily stressors that often make our fuse even shorter, this urge only gets stronger.
We’re all human and this reaction is completely natural. The problem is, raising your voice is a losing battle. As you’ve likely discovered, yelling does not relieve the tension. We’re often left feeling drained, upset and sometimes even more frustrated than when we began. To make matters worse, yelling does not generally deter problematic behavior in your kids.
Luckily, you’ve got options to prevent conflict in your family. Here’s a few key tips to de-escalate a short fuse:
Identify what triggers you and troubleshoot
Knowing how to listen and identify your triggers is the first step in preventing conflict. For example, does your toddler get a certain enjoyment out of banging your cupboard doors? Invest in cupboard door baby locks. If your toddler cannot open the cupboard, they definitely can’t bang them closed and make you angry.
Does a phone call from your own mother in the middle of dinner annoy you? Then make sure your ringer is turned off in the evenings. Identifying what sets you off and taking preventative measures is a critical aspect to avoiding conflict.
Give yourself at least 10 minutes before you react
Allowing yourself a quick cool down period accomplishes two things. First of all, you have the opportunity to stop the blood from boiling and lashing out in rage. Knowing how to talk to your kids calmly is going to make your parenting moments much more effective.
Secondly, you give yourself time to decide whether the issue is truly worth raising. Sometimes things set us off in the moment. It can take time to realize that we may have been overreacting. To have strong communication with your children, you have to pick your battles. Getting angry at every little thing prevents your child from recognizing problematic behavior.
Disengage when you feel your anger escalating
There are times where a wave of anger can suddenly overwhelm you. It may happen because of a problem you’ve been dwelling on or because your mood is off that day. Once you find yourself ready explode, it’s time to disengage before you react. Some people find counting to ten to be an effective way to restart your mood. Others find it more helpful to quit the activity they’re working on and/or leave the room.
When you find yourself caught in a screaming match, walk away
Even with your best efforts, sometimes you may get pulled into a screaming match with your child. Remember, you still have complete control over your actions. Whether you’ve been fighting for a few moments, or you’re 10 minutes deep, you can make the decision to walk away at any time. By doing this, you prevent the situation from escalating further. You also allow yourself time to have a cool down period.
As first time parents, we’ve learned that from toddlers to teenagers they have the ability to push our limits. But as a reasonable parent, you have the ability to control the situation and turn what could be negative into a good experience for everyone.