Your brain gets flooded with hot anger when your preteen screams “No!” and slams her door. You see red when your three-year old spits at you and screams “I hate you!” How can you be so angry when you love your child so completely and deeply? (if you want to know how the brain works when it is angry, read this). The question is, how do you, as the parent, calm down when you are about to have a 2-year old’s temper tantrum?
How can you ask your children to exhibit self-control, when you can’t? How can you teach them to recognize their emotions and move through them, if you grab your child, spank your child, or scream at them when they act impulsively? Better yet, what if you are upset at your son hitting his brother and not using his words? What example does it give if you grab him roughly and scream at him?
Let’s get this out of the way: spanking isn’t a good option. It just doesn’t fit into today’s parenting strategies and it simply doesn’t help a child become their best self. Spanking sometimes even makes behavior worse (because the child feels misunderstood, wants to get revenge, or becomes even more flooded with their own feelings that they aren’t able to deal with). Most parents that I coach feel very guilty after spanking, like there was probably a better way to handle the moment. And….they feel very disconnected from their child after that kind of a blow up and recovery is awkward. Even if parents just “lose it,” and yell, parents hate their words and actions, in the heat of anger.
Here is a short list of ideas for YOU to calm yourself down, before you ask your child to calm themselves and work through their feelings. Need more help? I am here to help, offer hope, and help your family life move to a calmer way of being.