Keeping Your Cool
Apr 13, 2017
We often say that parenting is the hardest job you will do! What parents often find to be the most challenging is keeping their cool and helping their child while they are in the midst of a meltdown...basically for the parent to not have their own meltdown! Tantrums can be very stressful for parents as the child is expressing their feelings in a big way. While your child's emotions cannot be controlled in the middle of a meltdown, you can control your own emotions and behaviors. Managing your reaction to these difficult situations is important not only as it models positive coping behaviors to your child, but also allows you to be a source of calm that organizes your child's feelings and helps them get to the other side of the meltdown! Almost as if your child is looking to you to be the captain steadying their ship during the storm.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind when you feel like you may lose your cool:
- Have a plan ahead of time. It is extremely important to know your "button pushers" and ways that you calm down. Having your own plan of coping strategies that you can easily access is essential.
- Stop yourself - If you feel yourself beginning to lose it, press pause and call a time-out for yourself. Remove yourself from the situation and give yourself a second to calm down.
- Examine your child's behavior in the context of their age and development. Big behaviors are often typical of certain temperaments and developmental stages...don't take their behavior personally!
- Be there for your child. No child chooses difficult behavior and meltdowns don't feel great to any child. Once you feel in control of your emotions, help your child to see that you are there and you are able to guide them to a calmer state when they are ready.
Remember: Don’t run on empty! Self-care for parents is essential...Most parents find it much harder to stay even-tempered when they are tired, hungry or in need of a break. If you find that anger is frequently getting the best of you, take a look at whether you’ve been burning the candle at both ends. When you take care of yourself physically and emotionally, you’ll find it easier to handle the ups and downs of parenting.