Parenting is challenging on any given day, but NOW with the added responsibility of distance learning, it can feel exasperating. If having your kids around 24/7 is DRIVING YOU MAD, don’t despair. Know that the more you understand yourself and your child, the better you will be able to manage the situation.
Anger is a feeling we experience when we perceive an injustice. When we are angry we become energized. While we sometimes use that energy in ways we later regret, we can learn ways to come out on top. The key to remember is that when you feel out of control, you may want to control your child. Instead, you need to focus inward and find ways to regain control of your emotions.
Your kid doesn’t want to do their school work You aren't trained as a teacher. Perhaps you worry what will happen to their brain if they don’t get an education. You want them to learn something while they are sheltering at home.
Your kid doesn’t listen You’re trying to keep your child busy so you can get something done yourself. Or maybe you just want them out of your hair and feel upset when they want to goof off and resist anything that doesn’t involve screen time.
You kid is loud and fighting with their sibling(s) If you’re trying to work from home or are multitasking in an attempt to get housework done while still giving your kids some attention, this extra conflict in the home can wreak havoc on your patience levels, especially if you are sensitive to noise.
Your kid is disrespectful to you It’s easy to become enraged anytime someone disrespects us, but when it’s our own child, we can really blow our top. You are doing above and beyond what you normally do and the last thing you need now is to deal with opposition and cheeky behavior.
You have so little downtime You are trying to balance teaching all the subjects with household chores, meal prep, and getting your work done. You don’t truly have a moment alone. As a result, you will quickly run out of steam and when those little buggers start up, it feels nearly impossible to keep your cool.
10 Tips to Manage Your Anger:
1. Take a deep breath (or three). This will allow you to calm down your nervous system enough so you can think before you respond. In particular, focus on the exhale. Let go of all that pent up anguish. Release it out with the breath.
2. Identify negative thoughts when you feel upset. Are you using words like “always” or “never”? If so, recognize that there are likely exceptions to the rule. Consider what a more accurate and helpful way of thinking about the situation might be.
3. Walk away. You might want to respond to your child in the moment, but if you are a fire-breathing dragon just then, you’ll want to put our your flames first. You can always say, “we’ll talk about this later.”
4. Identify circumstances that trigger you. If you lose it when your child ignores your instructions, set expectations with them in advance. Inform them of the rule and the consequence for breaking it. Get them to repeat it to you so you know they understand. You can also use positive reinforcement to motivate your child to be on their best behavior and avoid acting out.
5. Practice self-soothing. When you are upset, use the butterfly hug to calm you body down. Cross your arm, placing your palms on opposite shoulders. Tap on alternate sides while breathing and notice how your anger level quickly falls.
7. Reflect outloud what you are seeing that is unacceptable. You might say, “I see dirty clothes on the floor.” Without nagging your child to do what you want, they get the picture of what’s wrong and instinctively know what they need to do to remedy the situation.
8. Ask yourself why your child is behaving in this way. If you come up short, check in with your child. Be curious. The more you listen, the more you’ll understand what underlies their behavior. Then you can problem-solve about how to meet their needs in a more productive way.
9. Create a contingency plan. Anticipate that your child will push your buttons and plan in advance what you will do to handle the situation. You can rehearse it in your mind so you can communicate calmly and accurately.
10. Practice daily meditation. Not only does this practice increase your ability to remain present, but it slows down your reaction time, helping you stay more in control of your responses under fire. While it may seem that you can’t afford to spend even ten minutes on yourself given everything else on your plate, you can’t afford not to meditate. This helps you be more effective and can save you from many upsets and outbursts in the near future.
The bottom line is that as parents, we all have our breaking points. You have so much on your shoulders. Sometimes it can feel like too much. But it’s your job to take responsibility for your emotions and behaviors. Remember, you are a role model for your child. The more you can manage yourself, the better you’ll be able to manage the situation with your family members.
Article was originally published in Ronnie's Awesome List.