Remaining calm when your child is pushing your buttons or making you angry is a highly effective parenting strategy to avoid losing control of yourself. However, even with your best intentions, calm parenting can be a challenge to sustain.
It does not take long to understand that being a parent is a deep personal experience. Often times our feelings overcome logic and reasoning. While what we feel when angry is normal and natural, an inappropriate response to our children is not.
When we lose control of our emotions, we often blame the child, accusing them of not listening when they misbehave, are disrespectful or talk back. Many times, when children push our buttons, we instantly respond without thinking.
The challenge to calm parenting requires us to take control of our response and behaviors whenever the child triggers are strong feelings. Fortunately, there are techniques that can help you avoid yelling and screaming at the ones that you love the most – your children.
Your Triggers and Buttons
You likely know what words or actions can trigger your feelings instantly. All of us are vulnerable to the deep emotions that can easily ignite when someone pushes our buttons. When many of us reach our tipping point, we have to face the struggles and disappointments of raising our children which often makes us confront our own fears and unhealed emotions.
When your child talks back, roles their eyes or walks away, you can easily interpret their actions as disrespect. When children do not listen, you might sense you are being disregarded.
Parenting often exposes our darker, deep self typically tucked away from public view. When we lashed back, explode or unleash our emotions on our children we often feel hopeless and guilty from our lack of self-control. This can be a vicious cycle.
Acknowledging Unhealed Emotions
The key technique to taking control of your triggers and buttons is to acknowledge, recognize and sooth your own unhealed emotions that prevent you from controlling yourself. It is essential to recognize that when the emotional part of your brain takes control, you tend to react to situations by screaming and yelling.
However, you might also shut down, ignore the problem, distance yourself from the situation or turn a blind eye to any unacceptable behavior. Usually, your triggers are based on a variety of feelings that could include:
Once you learn to recognize your buttons and triggers, you can choose a different reaction to your children’s behaviors. In addition to your triggers, take notice if your throat begins to tighten and your shoulders become tense. If your words are defensive or cruel, your buttons are likely being pushed.
Alter Your Feelings
Write down your feelings to attempt to understand yourself and why certain behaviors make you upset. Are you feeling helpless, unsure, scared, overwhelmed or out of control? Are your feelings rational or irrational? Is there something you can do to alter your feelings?
It is essential to remember what is at stake when you respond inappropriately. Because you are the adult in the room, it is your responsibility to provide positive influence when dealing with your child’s bad behavior. If you take time to heal your wounds, you can avoid common power struggles and begin to restore family unity through calm parenting.