How to discipline your child without losing your cool in front of then has been a goal of mine ever since becoming a parent.
As a parent, one my biggest fears has always been hurting my child’s emotional and mental well being. I love them with all my heart, but I worry about their well being. I worry about screwing things up (just being honest here). I know that we can often lose our cool very easily, and yell at our children but I am trying so hard not to do that because I know how hurtful that is to their development.
I always hated seeing a parent discipline their child at the park or any other public place with shame, rather then getting to the root cause of the problem — which usually tends to be a need not met.
One of my all time favorite quotes is:
The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice. — Peggy O’Mara
This quote couldn’t be more true. When my six year old knocked over one of my vases and it shattered into a million pieces, he was already feeling so bad for it. As a parent, I don’t need to add more to that. He knows he is not to play with mommy’s things but accidents happen and that’s okay. Disciplining without losing our cool is a way to teach us both something.
Children are full of BIG (very big) emotions that sometimes don’t know how to deal with, so in return they throw things, get angry, yell, slam doors, hurt their sibling, etc.
One of the ways to overcome this is to challenge yourself in the morning that you will go through the day without shouting, and that no matter what you will respond calmly. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I do this. It helps me tremendously setting those boundaries right of away.
The key here is to NOT react. The key is to get on an emotional level with them to determine the root cause and help them by validating their emotions. And, this can be hard, very hard actually because they don’t always want to talk to you right of away. So you want to let them cool off too. Also, because they may feel like you don’t love them in that moment so they hide their feelings and feel unloved. As a parent, we know we love our children no matter what they do BUT, they don’t understand that unless you tell them.
Every time I react to a bickering situation between the boys, who are four and six years old I always hate myself a little for that and feel extremely guilty afterwards. I tell myself, all the time, like “how are they suppose to understand if I cannot contain my feelings”. It starts with me, and if I am calm they will be too. If I yell, they will yell back. You can feel that you have the authority over your child because you are the parent, but trust me that does not solve the problem. I am a problem solver, and I will tame the situation in every way possible rather than exert my power over my child.
I cannot tell you the number of times I have yelled, but I can firmly tell you that not once has it solved the problem. Not once has it made things better. Disciplining with shouting is not the way, trust me friends I have three kids ages 2, 4 and 6 plus one on the way and yelling has never worked.
Right now, I am working on these big emotions with my four year old who gets frustrated when he cannot put his jacket on, or his legos fall down after he spent time building them and he starts to throw them — so me, naturally would yell back “stop throwing things”. He yells back “leave me alone”. Things are already heated up here and he is even more upset, and I am just about to lose my cool with the situation. My patience is thin as is.
But, every time I stay calm and every time I have been responding positively I have noticed how the situation has calmed too. Instead of yelling back, I walk up to him and get on his level, meaning I usually sit in front of him and tell him that it’s okay, we can make it again, etc. and he feels much better and is more calm. You can read my full post on GENTLE PARENTING here.
Another thing I am working on is my six year old interrupting me while I speak to someone else, whether it’s their sibling or a friend. I have such a hard time not snapping right then and there. I have to remind myself to stay calm. Also, sometimes I will say, “You cannot interrupt me while I speak to someone else, do you know how rude that is?” But, what I really should say is “Do you think it was kind to interrupt mama while she speaks to someone?” Because this way I won’t lose their respect and they won’t feel shamed. They are still learning, and processing it all. My six year old is fairly sensitive so I worry about his feelings and emotions, and try to remind myself to pay attention how I talk.
If you have gotten this far reading — thank you for staying with me. If you have learned anything, let it be this —
Don’t let the situation dictate how you parent.
Don’t let your parent authority control how you respond to your child.
Don’t force yourself into a mode you cannot control, rather focus on getting out of a fight situation.
Don’t shame parent your kids alone, or in front of anyone as shaming can only be hurtful to their development.
Don’t let someone else’s ways be your ways, instead find yourself in a positive parenting aspect.
Here is to more gentle parenting, disciplining without losing our cool, responding rather than reacting and focusing on our children’s well being.
Shoes are courtesy of See Kai Run.
A mama of three + one more on the way, who hopes to inspire you through this parenting journey.
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