Kids can be downright jerks sometimes! There, I said it! Children can really try your patience and your sanity. But no child deserves to be hit or screamed at out of anger.
Many parents find themselves close to “losing it” wit their child. As the world is struggling with the pandemic, job loss, financial issues, and daily life challenges, “losing it” on our children is a likely possibility. Increased stress only increases the likelihood parents may lash out at their children.
What can you do to calm down and prevent “losing it” with your children? You set up a game plan to prevent yourself from losing your temper and your sanity.
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Steps to follow before you “lose it”
Ask yourself what your definition of “lose it” is
Each person has a different definition of what “lose it” means. You need to paint a picture in your mind of what you “losing it” would look like because it allows you to imagine the worst-case scenario.
My definition of “losing it” is not just yelling at my kids, but getting to the point where I want to crawl into a fetal position on the floor and cry. Basically a complete breakdown.
For other parents the definition may be something different. If you ever feel like you could see yourself hurting your children physically, that is the worst-case scenario of “losing it.” If you fear you might lash out in anger at your childre, it’s essential to have a plan in place to calm you down!
Identify your triggers
Everyone has triggers. Triggers are things that make us ‘tick.’ Things that annoy or anger us quickly. Some people can’t stand the sound of people chewing loudly. Others can’t handle rude people.
Ask yourself what are your triggers related to your children…
Piles of toys everywhere they won’t pick up?
You need to identify what your triggers are that make you feel on the verge of “losing it.” When you can identify them all, you will be prepared to control your anger in the future when these specific triggers occur again.
One of my biggest triggers to where I feel I will “lose it” is when my four year old wit autism goes into full-on meltdown mode. Screaming at the top of his lungs, hitting, and a resistance to calm down. This pushes me to my absolute limit.
After full-on meltdown mode, I’m mentally and physically exhausted. Especially if the meltdown happens in public! It’s hard not to be upset with my son and raise my voice to get through to him. But me losing my calm doesn’t help him to calm down, it only makes it worse.
Stop and breathe deep
Before you respond to something horrible your child just did, stop and breathe. Slowly.
Don’t even say anything to your child. At times, the best thing to do in a bad situation is to not respond right away. But how does not responding to your. Child change the situation or misbehavior?
While it doesn’t fix or redirect the bad behavior, breathing deep always you a few seconds to gather your thoughts and help you avoid immediately screaming at your child in anger.
Related Articles: 5 Easy Ways To Gain More Patience With Your Toddler
Have an exit strategy
When worst comes to worst and you really feel on the verge of snapping on your children, have a place where you can go in your home to provide some separation from your children.
I know this might seem difficult because children never give you any space, it necessary.
Even if that means you’re closed in the kitchen and all that’s between you and your kids is a baby gate. It still provides you the separation you need to gather your thoughts and stuff a piece of chocolate in your mouth (that’s what I do!)
My exit strategy is to go outside for a couple minutes. My house has a large window that allows me to still watch the kids inside and have breathe of fresh air.
They know that mommy’s about to lose it and they’ve pushed me too far. They just stand on the couch and watch me out the window so I always have sight of them. I can even play peekaboo with them!
Once I’ve calmed down I go inside and continue on with the day.
Blow off steam
Anger is an emotion that if trapped for too long will only boil over eventually to the point where you do “lose it.” In order to avid a total eruption of anger on the people closest to you like your kids, find ways to blow off some steam.
Some simple activities to relieve anger quickly include:
Scream into a pillow- You can even encourage your children to do this to release any pent up anger. You will be amazed how well this relieves anger, especially in a tense moment.
Listen to music- Have you ever heard the phrase, “Music calms the savage beast.” Well, it’s true! Music has a way to making us feel happy and turn our anger into joy.
Some activities for long-term care of managing anger include:
Get creative- Fine a creative hobby like painting, journaling, or even gardening.
Exercise- While some view exercise as a hobby, I view it as a healthy lifestyle choice. I lift weights to manage pent-up anger and overall stress.
Reach out for help
Who is your closest ally? The person you can call to vent to? For me, it’s my mom. She’s the first person I call when I need someone to talk or vent to. Plus, she’s always willing to come over to watch my boys even for 20 minutes so I can go take a walk outside or so I can take a shower uninterrupted.
Quite your mind
Have you ever felt your stress level rising because there’s simply too much noise? A combination of screaming, laughing, babbling, toys, and maybe a TV going in the background is enough to send anyone over the edge!
I’ve been there! To help with this situation and calm my mind from the overstimulated environment, I turn off any background noise (TV or noise-making toys) and put a pair of earplugs in.
They don’t block out all the sound so I am still able to hear everything my kids are doing, but they dull the noise around me to help calm my anxiety so I don’t “lose it” on my kids.
Remember it’s not their fault
Kids are just being kids. They’re loud, demanding, and obnoxious sometimes. Most of the time, they are not going out of their way to irritate you.
Remember, that life stresses like financial and job worries or spousal issues are not their fault. These kind of issues add to the likelihood of you “losing it” on your kids. When your overall stress level is high do to everything in life, remember not to get upset with your children.
Keep reminding yourself that your life stress has nothing to do with your children and they do not deserve your anger because of it.
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I wrote this article because many times I have lost it on my children where I completely break down and cry for a good 20 minutes. I always feel better after a good cry, but I also way to supermom my way through every stressful situation with my kids.
Unfortunately, many parents definition of “losing it” is much different that crying on the floor!
Every day on the news I’m seeing reports of children being abused or even worse murdered by their parents. I know murder rates for 2020 spiked dramatically, but I never thought there would also be an increase in the amount of child murder cases.
I understand many family are under extreme stress from possible eviction, financial trouble, and pandemic isolation from everyone, but no child (no matter how frustrating they can be) deserves to be hurt in any way. I believe the first step in not losing it on your kids is to admit to yourself what your definition of losing it is.
For me, “losing it” is defined as breaking down and cry for a while and full panic attack mode. But if you are feeling like “losing it” on your children involves possible hurting them physically, please reach out to friends and family members. You might need to take a couple of hours away from your children to calm down and remember how precious they really are.
Try to include some of the tips above to help calm anger with your children before reacting to their misbehavior!