it was always burning since the worlds been turning! That fire that escalates from parental fury and seems to grow and grow with every whine, until you feel your eyeballs may explode out of your head. News flash! If you get to this point, you've lost the match (I often lose the match, but then I've never been very good at sports anyway).
One of my NY resolutions was to try keep my cool, and not get so angry with my preschooler. It has become increasingly harder since my baby boy arrived, as she usually acts up when he begins screaming, or when I've had a particuarly sleepless night and have no patience to begin with. Today was another one of those days when I was in the middle of dismantling the Christmas decorations, and had to go feed my baby in the other room. I came back to a living room where I left my daughter (which had been cleaned 2 days prior by our cleaning lady) with pink glitter sprinkled everywhere! Well, we can say mildly put, I lost it!
So how do I refrain from unleashing every sort of punishment at my disposal in these moments (hers are: time out, moving back on her behavior chart, losing a toy, even a spanking!)? This is my new emergency card (Yes it's printed out for me to have close at hand).
1. BREATHE: 3 deep breaths, inhale and exhale for as long as possible. If it doesn't calm you, it will at least keep you from yelling for a few seconds, giving your precious little one time to apologize.
2. DISTRACT yourself: Just as you do a melting down toddler. Do something quickly for you. A cup of tea, a gossip mag for 5 mins, a great song to dance around to, take the kids for a walk. The problem will still be there to deal with afterwards, but at least you'll be in better spirits.
3. ALLOW: Acknowledge you are mad, all emotions are allowed, all actions are NOT! I love researching, so I guess for me, if I can distract myself from the emotion long enough, then I should look up new ways to deal with the issue: ie sibling jumping over baby brother.
4. DECIDE on which areas and behaviors to tackle, and let the rest slide. If you have a clear view of what is essential and what isn't ahead of time, you won't blow up over every action and hopefully your child won't feel like they are constantly being reprimanded.
And remember, your little human is not the enemy, they are just little and immature. I have to remind myself of this on a regular basis using a strategy I learned from a magazine where you say to them, "What are you, 5?" (insert app. age here) as a reminder that yes, they are only just little and still figuring out how to deal with life. My daughter reminded me of this the other day when I was going off over picking up after herself and she responded sadly, "I'm just a child!" It snapped me back to reality and showed me I really need to be more gentle and forgiving of her actions.
Hope this helps another momster (and her children) on the edge!
Love and control,
Kerry the Momster