When you feel yourself about to go ballistic on your kid, here are 10 things to try instead.
1. Give yourself a time out
Leave the room and head to one that has a lock (secure your kiddo in a crib or gated play area if he’s little). You get a moment of reprieve, and the kid’s shock over your disappearance may be enough to stop the behaviour. Take five minutes to listen to a song, plug your ears or just repeat “children are precious gifts” over and over.
2. Make a highlight reel
In your downtime, think of a stellar moment with each kid. Later, when you’re getting worked up, take that happy memory off the shelf and focus on it like your life depends on it.
3. Make it about you
We know it’s them, not you! But by limiting yourself to “I” statements (I’m frustrated; I feel upset right now), you focus on what you can control instead of piling on the criticism.
4. Fake it till you make it
You may not be able to tamp down your emotions, but you can pretend otherwise. Use a soft, creepily soothing voice (bonus points for fake a beatific smile) until you feel calm.
5. Hand them over
Provided you’re not both about to lose your sh*t, it’s time to lean on your partner and take a breather from the kids. You’ll return the favour, because there will always be a next time.
6. Turn into a character
Channel Opera Man or slip into your best Valley Girl, even if it’s the last thing you feel like doing. Silliness has a way of defusing even the most infuriating situations.
7. Ask questions
Put it to them: “Why do you think Daddy is so angry right now?” That way they search their own behaviour instead of just trying to find the thing that will keep you from blowing up.
8. Sound the alarm
She’s gonna blow! Let your kids know you’re close to the edge and about to start yelling. If they don’t shape up. Hey, they were warned.
9. Clap it out
If you’re angry and you know it, clap your hands? The physical release of slapping your hands together (hard, if you need to) can help get out the anger. Plus, it’s better than slamming a door.
It’s OK for kids to realize parents don’t have all the answers. Put it to them like this: “I’m upset because you’re not ready for daycare. What should we do?” Whether they have a good idea or not, they’ll feel more empowered than when you nag.