13 Easy Steps To Stop Losing Your Temper With Your Kids

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How Not To Lose Temper With Kids

There are better ways to discipline a kid without losing our temper. We often think that kids just don’t understand what we are saying to them. Trust me, they understand a lot more than we can imagine.

Treat them like adults. Give them reason, explain why you are mad.

We are all humans so we are gifted with brain and the capability to speak. Speaking is much better way to resolve things than hitting and fighting.

My daughter is hyper-energetic. She doesn’t even use a minute to rest. She literally runs around all the time (except when I give her tablet to play, but that’s a story for another article). She drives me nuts sometimes but I try not to lose my patience. Sometimes I repeat same thing over and over again but I do explain her why something is forbidden. So – she will not get a dessert because she didn’t eat her dinner. We won’t read a story because she didn’t clean up her room. She does have tantrums from time to time – but when she sees I am serious, she does what I’ve asked her. Also, use emotional statements like: If you don’t eat your vegetables, I am gonna be sad. That will make them more understanding, while hitting will just do the opposite and damage their confidence. They will stop trusting you and will make them rebel eventually.

But what to do when your child is impossible? For example, if he or she has a biting phase, hitting won’t change a thing. But for example, the scariest punishment for them is to sit in the corner when no once can talk with them and they can’t play with their toys. They will get bored so quickly that they will never repeat the same thing. Better way than to lose temper with kids.

Interesting hack: When you’re mad and you’re feeling like you will lose temper with kids, just use the counting technique. Count slowly to ten out loud. It forces you to delay your reaction and you’re more likely to behave reasonably, and chances are your kids will start to listen before you reach 10.

Children copy what they see, so don’t lose temper with kids and try to discipline them by hitting them. Teach them to respect other by respecting them.

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6. Apologize to Your Child When Necessary

One of the greatest gifts you can give your child is knowing when to admit you’ve done something wrong and to apologize. Some parents struggle with this, thinking that if they do this they are giving up their power or showing weakness.

But ask yourself what it is you want to teach and model to your child about grown-up relationships. Surely we want to teach our kids the importance of an apology when they’ve wronged someone. There’s nothing more powerful than a parent admitting their faults and offering a sincere apology.

4. Let Go of Parenting Guilt

For most parents, the worst part about losing our temper is how we feel afterward. Losing our tempers with our kids can lead to significant parenting guilt. And we can’t turn the clock back and undo what we have just done.

Parenting guilt itself can lead us to parent ineffectively in the future. Parents who harbor guilt often have difficulty holding their kids accountable in the future.

Related content: Am I a Bad Parent? How to Let Go of Parenting Guilt

It is important to realize that all parents do things that they regret. After all, we’re only human. So, give yourself a break, and don’t let your guilt about past actions keep you from parenting effectively in the future.

Is My Temper Hurting My Child?

Over the years I’ve heard and seen some pretty horrific ways parents have lost their temper with their kids. I won’t share the worst of them with you, but here are some examples.

  • Thrown their child across the room
  • Pulled appliances out of the wall in anger at them
  • Thrown their phone at them (or a guy I work with last week threw his daughters $1,500 phone in the swimming pool)
  • Punched holes in the door and walls of their kid’s room
  • Screamed with spit flying 2 inches from their child’s face
  • Implemented punishment that is extreme (“You’re not going to Disneyland tomorrow”)

Many parents will apologize sometime afterward and believe this fixes it. While this is very important to do, damage has already been done that can’t be eliminated with a “sorry.”

I’m not suggesting that we should only show our kids positive emotions, That’s not real, honest or helpful for them. They need to see that all emotions are okay, even the negative ones, but they also must see them managed appropriately.

Despite what many people think, anger is not a bad emotion. It helps us, tells us something’s wrong, keeps us safe, motivates us, and benefits us in other ways, yet too much of it is also a problem.

Your temper can be harmful to your child for several reasons. It can:

  • Make them fear you
  • Lead them not to trust you
  • Cause them to walk around on eggshells around you (or as one mom put it, “Don’t poke the bear”)
  • Make them question what’s wrong with themselves
  • Damage the development of their self-identity

I have been with my partner for 8 years and we have a 7 and 3 year old. He has always been quick to fire up with his temper but its steadily getting worse and worse. When he loses his temper now he has started smashing things around the house. When we argue we go round in circles same things all the time. I get frustrated as nothing I have said that is a problem changes. When I try and bring anything up he just starts shouting and name calling and then the aggressive behavior starts. He says he is aggressive as I have said I can’t do this any more and that I should leave him alone when he is like that – trouble is he will go upstairs or away and that is it for the night, won’t speak about it. If I try he starts again and says for me to leave and start smashing things again – but nothing is ever getting sorted. He blew up about disciplining our child. I didn’t agree with the way he dealt with a situation. He started screaming, shouting, name calling again and went upstairs for the whole night. He was never like this at first – if he doesn’t get his own way he has a mood. It’s the worst with me, but he loses his temper with the kids several times a day. Our 7 year old can be pretty defiant and they get into it constantly. Yesterday he was screaming at our son because he spilled cereal on the floor. He’s 7!! I have previously been in a violent abusive relationship and can’t believe this happened again. He says he is scared of losing us but I don’t know what to do – even after the worst night when neighbors called the police he said he was sorry, but I should of left him when he got like that and I was baiting him standing there. All I did was stand there and just ask him calmly to calm down to avoid this situation. He kicked table over and smashed stuff against the wall – even then he was saying it was my fault for not leaving him. This was a result of an argument but I didn’t think I was causing an argument, I was trying to have a discussion. I just don’t know what to do.” -Ridhi

What do you think the long-term effects could be for these kids of their dad losing his temper at them several times a day?

Be a Detective

When Wyatt found herself on the verge of yelling, she tried shifting her perspective. This allowed her to think about what her daughter was going through instead of simply reacting.

“Be curious, not furious,” Ablon says. “Ask questions without jumping to conclusions so you can find out what’s going on for your child. Be a detective.”

2. Have Your Words Taken Seriously

I first read about the “Asked and Answered” technique from a blog article on positive parenting solutions. As I just explained, I most commonly lose my temper when I repeat myself numerous times and my kids do not listen. In order to make your words carry more weight, answer the child’s question, then any further pleading or nagging, respond with a simple phrase: “Asked and answered.” Read more about it in the link to the article. Basically you only answer your child once and then repeat “Asked and answered” until they take what you said seriously.

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I read more about only saying things once in the book “Have A New Kid By Friday” by psychologist Dr. Kevin Leman. He acknowledges the number one reason parents lose their temper is because their words are not respected.

He writes, “If you want your child to take you seriously, say your words only once. Only once. If you say it more than once, you’re implying, ‘I think you’re so stupid that you’re not going to get it the first time, so let me tell you again.’ Is that respectful of your child?”

If you tell your child to clean up their room, do not remind them or yell at them for not doing it immediately. Simply wait until they want something from you (a snack, outside time, etc) and tell them no. They will start to take your words more seriously if you refuse to do anything for them until they have done what you asked of them. These two tactics have tamed my temper IMMENSELY because I’m no longer cajoling my children to listen.

2. Brace yourself during bad days

Have you noticed that when you’re in a good mood, you’re more patient with your toddler? Well, the opposite can be said when you’re in a bad one.

For instance, I’d end my work day frustrated, then head straight to pick up the kids and wonder why every little thing they did made me angry.

A “bad day” doesn’t always have to be disastrous. Even little things like dealing with a broken air conditioner or a late package delivery mean your mind is elsewhere instead of on your toddler. The next time you’re having a bad day, brace yourself because you’re vulnerable and prone to losing your temper.

Instead, try these tactics:

  • Spend 10-30 minutes “shutting down” before being with your toddler. If you’re at work, do something light before ending your day. If you’re at home, pick a light or relaxing task to transition yourself into being with him.
  • Journal your thoughts. I like to spend a few minutes before picking up the kids to write down what I did for the day so it’s out of my mind. I’ll also write frustrations and challenges so I can let them go.
  • Take a deep breath and say a mantra. If the day is already going south, take a deep breath and remind yourself that you’re going through a rough time right now. This little reminder can be all you need to go easy on him when he whines. That the real reason you’re upset is because the kitchen sink is clogged or that you’re upset about extra bills.

Get more tips about how to get yourself out of a bad parenting day.

4. Dont worry about what other people think

Disciplining in public is not my favorite. Whether in front of family, friends, or even strangers, I never liked the idea that other people could witness my kids throwing a fit… and watch how I’ll respond.

Except here’s what I learned. First, no one really cares what you’re doing. It might seem like everyone’s watching your every move, but more likely, they don’t even notice.

Second, it doesn’t matter what they think. Take strangers, for instance. There’s no way they can judge one incident—whether positive or negative—and decide what type of parent you are.

Let me give you an example of when I let other people dictate my actions.

I was picking up the kids from school when one of them complained. I wanted to let it go, but with other parents and teachers around, I felt compelled to put on my “discipline hat” and started talking down to him.

Deep down, I wanted them to think that I had this under control, that I knew what I was doing.

Well, turns out that my first intuition was right. Disciplining him, especially in front of others, only set him off further. Had I let it go like I wanted to, we could’ve headed to the van with only mild complaints instead of a full-on fit.

Get more tips on handling public tantrums.

How to Stop Yelling at Your Kids

Here are a few things to do when you feel like you are going to lose your temper… and while the “just breathe” method works, I  wanted to introduce you to some other ideas that you can try today to stop losing your temper with your kids:

1. Feel a Watchful Eye

Parent like someone is watching you.

Really.  

You will see how much differently you act.  You will follow all of those “parent rules” like consistency, calmness & being firm, but fair… all the ones that you know you should be following.

2. Take Out the Personal

Pretend that it isn’t your child.  

If you were their teacher, not their parent, how would you react.  I taught for many years and never once yelled at a child.

3. Teach Instead of Yelling

Be the teacher, not just the rule enforcer.  Show them what you expect and explain why.

4. Pre-empt Your Temper

Recognize when you are going to lose your temper and stop it.  

Are the kids getting louder?  

Are the toys getting messier?  

Is dinner running behind?  

Recognize it and fix it before it escalates to losing your temper.  It is usually a lot of little things that equals one big explosion.

5. Replace Your Yell with Your Inside Voice

Speak quietly instead of yelling.  The calmer and softer you speak, the more impact your words will have.

6. Adult Time Out

Give yourself a time out.  

Walk into another room for a few minutes.  Let yourself cool down and then walk back and address the problem.

7. Get Some Rest

Get enough rest.  

Our kids get cranky when they are tired… why would it be any different for the adults?

8. Gain Perspective

Think long-term.  If you do this “______” now (Yell, talk rudely, etc…) how will it be remembered by them tomorrow, in a week, in a month?  

Don’t break their spirit because you lost your temper.

9. Exercise

Exercise. You have to get your stress and frustrations out and working them out is the perfect way to do it.

Plus, you are setting a great example for your kids. They need their wiggles out and so do you!

10. Consistency All The Way

Be consistent.  This is huge for your kids.  

They need you to be consistent so they can know what to expect.   It is the hardest part of parenting, in my opinion, because there are so many different instances that can allow for inconsistency.

11. Positive Reinforcement

Start with a positive.  “You are normally just so sweet, but it hurt my heart that you just raised your voice to me” or “I love you, but I don’t like that behavior.”

12. Stress Techniques

Try squeezing a stress ball when you get upset.  They really work and many therapist and councilors suggest them.

13. Grab the Talking Stick Gently

Try using a “talking stick”  when you get mad.  When  the child  is talking, they are holding the stick and have your full attention for a minute, then switch.  Let your child explain what has happened & then give yourself a chance to explain why you are upset up it.

14. Quiet the Argument

Don’t get into a back and forth argument.  It only escalates the problem and won’t result in a good outcome.

16. Firm, but Fair

Remember: firm, but fair.

No, your kids won’t remember that day that you were late.  They won’t remember that they couldn’t find their shoes or that they couldn’t find their homework, but they will remember how you reacted, because they will learn to react the same way.

17. Set an Example

They will mimic you, try to be like you and learn from  you.  

Remember that right now, at this moment, your kids are being just like you.  Be the example that would make anyone proud.  Be the parent that you want your children to be in thirty years.  You are a wonderful parent… (if you weren’t you certainly wouldn’t be reading this), so let your kids see that side of you.

Give Yourself a Time Out to Reflect

Sometimes you simply need a break. Tell your child you need a minute to yourself. Go into another room, take a few deep breaths, and come back feeling calmer.

Wyatt says reflection helped her break the cycle of yelling. Thinking about her upbringing and reminding herself how yelling made her feel helped her stop once and for all.

 

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