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Having a calm mom matters a lot for every child, but fighting anger as a parent is not always easy.
Ever since I became a mother, I tended to get angry more easily, probably because I felt overwhelmed and exhausted in my new role as a parent.
But I realized that I can’t raise a calm and happy child if I don’t learn to manage my emotions and be a positive model for him.
This is why I started a journey of learning to be a calm mom and to react in a gentle way even if I feel angry and upset.
I’m sharing here the lessons I’ve learned along the way, because I know that many parents struggle with this as well!
If you want to become a calmer parent, I hope you’ll find here the inspiration you need.
1. Acknowledging that I am responsible for my reactions
Sometimes we believe that the child is the one “guilty” for our angry reactions, but the truth is that we are the only ones responsible for managing our emotions and keeping our anger in control.
Our emotional state is what makes the difference between the moments when we overreact to our children’s behavior and the ones when we manage to remain calm.
The way we react to the same behavior may be different depending on how we feel at that moment.
For example: If my son spills milk on the table in a moment when I feel calm, I just ask him to be more careful next time.
But if I feel tired or stressed, I tend to overreact and say something less emphatic (like “I can’t believe that you spilled the milk again!”, “You always spill your milk”).
Also, when we need to go out, and my son refuses to cooperate, my emotional state influences my reaction.
If I feel good, I have more patience, and I find a playful way to convince him. If I am already angry, it’s more challenging to communicate with him in a gentle way, and I tend to become upset and get into a negative mood.
Even if I manage not to show this to my son, it affects me, and I can’t be as patient and playful as I would like.
The fact that I acknowledged the important influence of my emotional state on the way I react to my child’s behavior helped me become more aware of my feelings and learn to control them better.
2. Identifying the triggers that cause my negative feelings and preventing them
The next step after acknowledging the importance of my emotional state was identifying those triggers that usually make me angry.
I discovered that there are moments when I am less capable of remaining calm, usually in the evening, when I feel tired after a busy day.
Then I tried to prevent the triggers and avoid challenging situations.
Here are two changes that helped me:
- After I noticed that the moments when my son becomes totally uncooperative are among the greatest triggers that get me angry, I implemented a special time we spend together before every important moment when I need his cooperation.
This way, he receives special attention from me and feels more willing to cooperate. This change prevented a lot of moments when, normally, I would have felt angry and upset.
- I also changed our daily routine to make sure that I can have some quiet time when I need it.
I try to alternate the moments when we play or do activities together with moments when I can focus on myself and do something I like.
If I am alone at home with my son and feel tired or stressed, I give him a special toy or activity to keep him busy while I have a break. If my husband is at home, I just ask him to spend time with him to allow me to rest.
3. Using the “stop and think” method
Preventing the moments when we get angry is the best thing we can do, but it is not always possible.
When we get to the point when we already feel angry, and we risk losing our temper, we need to find a way to stop.
Some time ago, I read about the “stop and think” method, but I only implemented it recently. And it works great!
Click here to download a list of easy Calm Down Tips for Moms that will help you let go of anger easier.
The idea is very simple: when I feel very angry and risk overreacting to my child’s behavior, I just stop and think about the situation:
- Is my child’s behavior really as bad as it seems, or am I just exhausted and less capable of calming down?
- How would I react to the same thing if I were more relaxed and calm?
- What is the reason behind my child’s behavior?
Answering these 3 questions provides me with a better understanding of the situation and helps me adjust my reaction.
Sometimes children engage in negative behaviors because they feel disconnected from us, and this is their way of showing us they need to connect with us.
I always keep that in mind when I see my son misbehaving because it enables me to see the reason behind the behavior and help my child overcome his negative emotions.
As soon as he manages to deal with his emotions, his behavior will improve, and I will face less stressful situations as a parent.
4. Taking a break when I feel overwhelmed by my emotions
In those moments when I feel that I become very angry, I try to take a break and wait until I can calm down before dealing with the issue that triggered my anger.
It’s like a time-out for me: I tell my son that I need a moment to calm down, and I do my best t let go of the anger
When I feel calm again, I go back to the situation, and we discuss what happened. This helps me avoid saying things out of anger or yelling at my child.
I also try to have regular “me time” and take a break from my role as a mother. These breaks allow me to recharge my batteries and get into a more playful and happy mood.
5. Talking about the anger
One great way to fight against anger is to talk about it!
Studies show that the fact that we manage to put our negative feelings into words helps us overcome them.
When I feel that something is making me angry, it helps to talk about it with my husband or a friend. This discussion helps me understand what triggers my anger and inspires me to find solutions.
I also sometimes talk to my child about anger but in a different way. I tell him that some behaviors are making me angry and that I do my best to deal with the anger and to prevent it.
This sort of discussion can be a great opportunity to talk about his angry moments as well, and to find solutions together.
Here is a helpful printable resource that you can use to help your kids manage their feelings better: How to help young kids deal with strong emotions.
We are role models for our children and that the way we deal with our emotions teaches them to control their own.
If you have moments when you feel overwhelmed by anger, I recommend you try talking with a friend about the things that you are going through. It can really make a difference!
To summarize everything I wrote about in this post, here are the 5 steps that help me be a calmer mom:
- I try to prevent getting angry by acknowledging my triggers and working on improving my emotional state.
- I use connection time and special time with my child to build a stronger relationship between us and prevent some of the negative behaviors that make me angry.
- I use the “stop and think” method to prevent saying or doing things out of anger.
- If I am overwhelmed by my emotions, I take a time-out to calm down.
- I focus more on learning to deal with my strong emotions, and I try to talk about my feelings anytime I feel overwhelmed.
Bonus: Click here to download a list of easy calm down tips for moms that will help you let go of anger easier.
Also, here are 3 articles that were very helpful for me and provide more ideas about dealing with parent anger:
- Crazy mad: five ways to ward off parent anger (written by Patty Wipfler, the founder of Hand in Hand Parenting)
- 5 Things To Do When You Feel Your Temper Rising (a wonderful article about how to choose love and be gentle with our children even when we are mad)
- You CAN Stop Yelling. Here’s your 10 step plan. (if you feel the urge to yell when you get angry, this is a great plan to help you stop it).
My journey of becoming a calm mom is an ongoing one, and I try to be better every day at managing my own emotions.
I know this is very important for raising my child in a gentle way, and I am willing to do my best to accomplish this! It’s not always easy to stay calm, but I hope that I will get better on this as time goes on.
If you are dealing with the same struggle, I hope you’ll find what works best for you!
It can be challenging to learn to deal with strong emotions in a gentle way, but it is totally worth the effort when it comes to raising happy and confident kids!
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