Mommy. Mommy. Mommy. Mommy. Mommy….Oh. does it ever end? The constant nagging, tugging, asking, demanding, never-ending tone and personality of your toddler. Or what about when they’re misbehaving, causing havoc and chaos, yelling and screaming with that all-pervasive toddler meltdown we all know so well and don’t love? It’s easy to loose your cool with your little one, or a child of any age, but what message are you sending as a parent, an empowerer, a leader, their care-giver, when you loose it to the point where you’re the one yelling and screaming?
Yes, we’ve all been there, too many times to count, too many times to remember, too many times to feel good about. You may even say, “Stop….., you’re making me mad,” thus putting the onus of responsibility of your own emotional control on them. Think about it. It’s what you may often say. But who’s in control of their emotions? We are. We are in control of our emotions, and as parents, it’s our job to teach our children their own emotional control. While we can’t always expect our little ones to have this ability mastered by the terrible two’s, it is your responsibility as a grown-up, to lead by example, teach, mirror, and stay cool.
Why it’s so important, is that children learn why they see and hear. They learn through what they’re taught, what Mommy and Daddy do, and how Mom and Dad do what they do. All of it. Your kids learn to push your buttons because you’ve set the environment up to work that way. A common example is when child asks once, and doesn’t get the answer, response, or outcome they desire. So, as children will, they ask again, and again, and therein begins the lesson, the experience of the experience, for your child; Without putting a cap on it, and sticking to your guns, and, without offering up an alternative or two, your children will continue to push. And they will push you to your breaking point, unless you decide what that point is, and set up verbal boundaries for your self and your children as to how things are going to go. That, by the way, is a pleasant conversation whereby you’re Front-Loading about how to behave and what’s acceptable in your family.
Not sure what Front-Loading is? It’s a term I developed when I opened my Practice in 2004, and I use it often. Those clients of mine who are reading this article are shaking their heads in acknowledgement, knowing how important this is. It refers to the 5 W’s…What Where, When, Who, Why. And we’ll throw in an ‘H’ for How, just for good measure. If you front load how you want things to go, everyone is in the know, and they have onus and responsibility for how they behave. I’m talking about this because it’s an important adjunct to setting your environment up for success, so that not only your kids know the deal, but you have leverage and control that you can revert to that makes sense to them when they start pushing your buttons and you feel like you’re going to loose your cool and yell.
How Do You Stay Cool?
–Know your limits, and stay far away from them. Commit to the commitment that you will remain calm, kind, and collected. Firm is good, but stay kind. Make it become your mantra.
–Set out the boundaries of behaviour with your children, so they know what’s expected of them.
–You decide your Emotional Control. Your kids don’t make you mad. Their behaviour does. But further to that, because we control and choose our behaviour, if you’re going to react, or if you’re going to respond, it’s within your control to choose whether you’re going to allow your children to throw you off kilter, or not. It’s that simple.
-Empower and Lead by Example. This is your job as a parent. So do that. Empower them to understand they have control and choice.
-Yelling is Counter-Productive. Not only does yelling cause stress in you, it causes fright and stress in your children. They learn that this is an acceptable way to communicate and get what they want, because you do it. It doesn’t. The worst thing about yelling, is that crushes their spirit, and teaches to be aggressive. Don’t do that.
-Get Out of the Kitchen. It’s a saying, and it really just means, that when you feel like you’re getting frustrated, angered, riled, disengage and leave. Disengage kindly and nicely so you don’t raise the tension and anxiety in the room that already exists.
-Keep Calm, Kind and Nice, and stick to your guns. You’ll be thankful you did, and so will they. You’re raising little empowered people, not chaotic tyrants (even though sometimes it may seem otherwise).
Yelling and loosing your cool may also come from Stress, Anxiety, Depression, or Post-Prtum Depression (PPD), all of which are usually temporary and treatable. I have many clients in my practice who have realized that they’re loosing it because of these kinds of overwhlem or PPD, and together, we work on techniques and strategies to manage and cope. And the yelling subsides and the control and calm strengthens. If you think this may be you, or if you need more insight and support into how to parent more successfully, I’m right here.