The way that we interact with our kids when they are misbehaving impacts the relationship you have with them as well as what they are learning from the situation. We all get mad, we all yell sometimes, but when we yell at our kids, we send the message that we can't control ourselves when they are misbehaving. When we lose control, we are putting them in a situation where they feel in control of our reactions. During times of misbehavior, we want to model regulation while helping our kids calm down so they can learn. Anger and anxiety are contagious, but so is calm. In order to stay calm, try these things:
1. Know what you can control and what you can't. If you feel responsibility for every action and decision your child makes, you will be anxious and feel inadequate. You can control your reactions, the consequences you give and the lessons you teach, but not the actions of others. You have to remember that your child is a separate person from yourself.
2. Know your triggers. If you know that specific behaviors trigger you, make a plan ahead of time for what you will do instead of yelling.
3. Make a commitment to practicing emotional regulation. Staying calm under extreme stress is not something that happens without practice. Find time daily to practice strategies that help you regulate, so they become habitual.
4. Recognize stress in your life. Think of how you can reduce your daily stress load to avoid bringing personal stress into the interaction.
5. Focus on learning Think, what life skills do I want my child to learn? What, when we are both calm, can we take away from this. Remember, a misbehaving child is a discouraged child. They are expressing need from their misbehavior.
By not yelling and by staying calm and level headed, you will be more credible and respected by your child, and therefore more deeply connected.