The concept of Calm Parenting is something many of us aspire to internalize. But it’s hard to learn and harder to sustain. As parents, we are under a lot of stress each day between work, family obligations, and the difficulty of raising children, so it’s hard to keep things cool at times.
We know we have to parent based on morals and principles, not fear. But this is easier said than done, and sometimes our kids bear the brunt of our frustrations when we end up yelling at them.
We place the blame on our kids for the outbursts and blowouts we have, stating it is their fault for misbehaving, sassing back, or being disrespectful. This leads all parties involved to feel sad about the situation, and we blame ourselves and question our ability to be good parents.
This is normal- we’re only human after all. This article seeks to show you some ideas about how to embrace calmness in parenting and offers a great resource you can check out for further knowledge. Let’s get started.
Identify Your Triggers
What is it that makes you feel so strongly that you want to yell? We all have different things that make us vulnerable and push us over the edge. It’s as if a fire alarm goes off and the floodgates open and out come the words nobody wants to hear.
Some of us get angry easily, others are quite fearful of how our kids will turn out (we all want kids that can handle their business and carry themselves well in the world we live in). There are many ups and downs when it comes to parenting, so many disappointments, and so many triumphs that we become aware of ourselves in a whole new way compared to how we were before we became moms and dads.
Some experiences in parenting force us to confront fears we suppressed long ago and hoped we’d all forgotten about. These moments can stand in the way of speaking and interacting with our kids the way we want to. And when we explode, we feel horrible for how we acted and less confident in our ability to parent.
So, what issues lead you down the path of yelling and explosive behaviors? What actions are your kids performing that lead you to become irritated, and why do you feel this way? There could be an underlying issue or something that happened in the past that’s causing this- and you should address it to be at your best as a mother/father/caretaker.
Let’s Think Logically
Imagine you have two boxes in front of you. On the left, you have the Logical Box- this is where you perform all your practical, daily problem solving; it’s your toolkit.
Being at work on time, handling household and office tasks, and making a strategy for cleaning/the upcoming family vacation/a house renovation all happens here. It’s the business side of things, you might say.
Now on the right side, you have the Emotional Box. This is where the emotions of our day are handled. When things are going well in the Emotional Box, the Logical Box is a well-oiled machine also.
But when the Emotional Box begins to suffer- when too much stress is placed upon it, for example- the Logical Box no longer becomes a working place where strategies and plans are made. Instead, the Logical Box shuts down, and fire alarms go off, and sprinklers run to cool things down.
Once all the hubbub has died down, the Logical Box opens again- and it is often dismayed at how the Emotional Box crew handled the flames. They make a plan to prevent such a catastrophe from happening again in the future, vowing to never let it happen again.
You’re Not Alone
It’s common for parents to overheat and then start to parent and discipline from a place of fear and panic.
We are reacting in an illogical way to triggers that set our alarm bells off, and this results in our Logic Boxes being closed down and the Emotional Box taking over. Rational thoughts sometimes go out the window, leaving nothing but emotions to steer the ship.
But, by recognizing our triggers, we can keep them from steering us to a place we don’t want to go. You can learn to control your triggers, so they don’t cause a blowup.
Remember this: When your emotions take over, you are going to react in a way you won’t be proud of. You might end up screaming and/or yelling.
You may ignore your child, distance yourself from them, or shut down. Even worse, you might let the undesirable behavior continue, which isn’t healthy for anyone.
It’s best to wait and respond when your emotions have died down. This way, you won’t make rash decisions or actions. From there, you can get into the Logical Box and figure out a rational way to respond to the behaviors.
What Triggers You?
What feelings arise in you that make you want to lash out? Here are some common ones as reported by parents:
Suppose your child sticks his tongue out at you or makes a rude gesture at you. You might end up feeling disrespected. You might feel helpless, as you’ve asked your child to stop doing this time and time again. You might have a flashback to a childhood memory of a parent or peer making the same gesture at you.
This can cause your heart to pick up, your mind to go blank with rage, or your anger to rise- or all three. Something’s got to give, so the Emotional Box crew comes in to put the fires out, completely shutting out anything the Logical Box has to offer to mitigate these feelings.
And as much as you know that your child is just being a child, you take it personally, and emotions take over in retaliation. You might tell your child he or she is spoiled, they are ungrateful, that they don’t know how good they have it.
Chances are, your child will respond with even further sass, or will demonstrate hurt, both of which are unpleasant and unwanted. So, what can parents do?
You Are Human
Please understand that you are not the only parent dealing with these emotions. You are not a bad person or parent for feeling this way. You are a human being, and feeling this way is normal. But it is learning to control these emotions- and recognize when they come- that can make you victorious.
It is not an easy feat to learn how to do this, but it is a possibility. It’s going to take lots of practice and introspection to nail it, and some of you might need assistance from an outside source such as a parenting consultant or therapist (and there’s NOTHING wrong with that).
The best thing to do is try to imagine yourself in your child’s shoes. Do you remember being that age? How would you like to have been spoken to? Think about yourself today.
When you make a mistake at work, do you like being approached calmly and rationally by your superior and told what you did incorrectly in private… or do you prefer to be admonished in front of your coworkers, your boss or supervisor becoming angrier by the minute over something you did accidentally or because you didn’t know any better?
We think we know the answer- and that’s what you must work for.
Empower Your Logical Box
You can easily take steps to grow the logical part of your parenting skills. You can read articles such as this one that discuss remaining calm during parenting’s most challenging moments, and you can also make helpful books part of your repertoire.
One such book we love and recommend to our readers is Amelia Farris’s Stop Yelling: Parenting Tips and Tricks on How To Stop Yelling At Your Kids, Stay Calm and Reduce Stress Today. You will notice that it says “Advice for Women” in the title as well, but rest assured, men can and will benefit from this book just as much.
It’s a very affordable, very easy to read book that offers readers great advice on how to keep their cool when tempers rise. It won’t take long to read at all, but the lessons inside are ones you’ll use again and again.
Believe us- we are parents ourselves, and we know how hard it Is to stay calm, cool, and collected, especially when it matters most.
We as parents are under more stress today than parents of previous generations, largely in part to social media, current world events, and simply wanting to do right by our kids.
But by taking a minute to breathe, think about your actions and reach into the Logical Box for some handy tools, you can make disciplining your child and correcting their actions that much easier. You CAN do this!