6. Stay connected and see things from your child’s perspective, even while you’re setting limits.
When kids believe that we’re on their side and understand, even when we need to say no, they WANT to “behave,” so they’re more cooperative. Shouldn’t you “correct”? Not until you connect, first. Until your child feels understood and reconnected, she can’t hear your guidance. There’s always time to talk later, once you and your child have both calmed down and you’re starting from the warmth between you, instead of from your anger.
7. When you get angry, STOP.
Shut your mouth. Don’t take any action or make any decisions. BREATHE deeply. If you’re already yelling, stop in mid-sentence. Turn away and shake out your hands. Resist that urgent need to “set your child straight”. The urgency means you’re still in “fight or flight”. Don’t take action until you’re more calm.
8. Take a parent time-out.
Turn away from your child physically. Take a deep breath. If you can’t leave the room, run some water and splash it on your face to shift your attention from your child to your inner state. Under your anger is fear, and sadness, and disappointment. Let all that well up, and just breathe. Let the tears come if you need to. Be kind to yourself. Once you let yourself feel what’s under the anger — without taking action — the anger will begin to melt away.
9. Find your own wisdom.
From this calmer place, imagine there’s an angel on your shoulder who sees things objectively and wants what’s best for everyone in the situation. This is your own personal parenting coach. What does she say? Can she give you a mantra to see things differently, like:
- “I don’t have to “win” here… I can let her save face.”
- “He’s acting like a child because he IS a child.”
- “This behavior signals how upset she is inside; how much she needs my help.”
- “I don’t have to be right. I can just choose love here.”
10. Let go of trying to teach a lesson at this moment, and instead take positive action from this calmer place.
If you try to teach right now, you’ll find yourself shaming. It’s not a teachable moment until everyone is calm and reconnected.
Your positive action at this moment might be a do-over to get everyone back on track. It might mean you apologize. It might mean you get your cranky child laughing, and if that doesn’t work, support her through a good cry so that you can all have a better day. It might mean you blow off the dishes and just snuggle under the covers with your kids and a pile of books until everyone feels better. Just take one step toward helping everyone feel, and do, better — including you.
The bad news? This is hard. It takes tremendous self-control, and you’ll find yourself messing up over and over again. Don’t give up.
The good news? It works. It gets easier and easier to stop yourself in mid-yell, and then to stop even before you open your mouth. Just keep moving in the right direction. You’re re-wiring your brain. At some point, you’ll realize that it’s been months since you yelled at anyone.
The better news? Your child will transform, right in front of your eyes. You’ll see him working hard to control himself when he gets angry, instead of lashing out. You’ll see him cooperating more. And you’ll see him “listen” — when you haven’t even raised your voice.
Find the original article here.