Have you ever had a day or a moment when you find youself far too angry to respond in a positive, calm, warm way to your child? Even if you know that yelling at your kids is not a good solution, you just feel on edge? Maybe you feel far too angry to deal peacefully with misbehavior and conflicts?
A while back, I asked parents in our Positive Parenting Question & Answer community to answer this question:
How do you stay calm when you feel too angry to respond to your child?
Here are 20 tips from other parents on how to calm down when you feel angry:
Stop & Breathe
Leave the room (and the screaming child) and take some deep breaths. Then I can return with renewed patience and energy to help them solve whatever they are upset about. – Willow
If you know you might freak out over things, give yourself a minute to calm down before addressing it. After all, we want our kids to learn and do better next time, and know that we love, understand, and accept them, and that no matter what, they can always know that we are here to love and guide them, with only their best interest at heart. – Heather
When all else fails, sit or lie down and say, “Hang on, I need a minute to breathe and figure out what to to next.” – Sarah
I need a mommy break every week, just one hour or so too myself. If I can have that time, then I feel ready to tackle life with five kids but if I miss that break, the stress starts to pile on and I turn into mean mommy. Take breaks mamas it really helps!!! -Annie
Make sure to take a few breaks every day, just to recharge and take a longer one if you feel really mad. Whatever lesson I need to teach I know will get out better if I talk about it when I am calm, not when I am shouting on and on. -Kay
Have a plan for calming down, it helps loads. On bad days or bad moments, I can tell my kids, wait here, I need a mommy time out. I go to another room and breathe until I feel the anger melting so I can go back to them. -D.B.
I try to think of some positive aspect about my child and remind myself that this moment will also pass. – Shweta.
I have a list of things I love about my child, I go to that list and read it over and over again until I feel more positive about what is going on. -A tired mama
I always get frustrated at the end of the day, I’m just tired, so I keep my thoughts on positive things like how cute my kids looks when they are sleeping and how quiet the house will be when I get a chance to read a book all by myself! -Leanne.
Find a Listening Partner
What we do is talk about how we are feeling in the moment to each other and we always remind ourselves and each other that he is not upset at times for no reason and his crying is his way of communicating with us. Talking about your feelings with your partner really helps to keep each other on track. -Greig
When my day is going badly I call my best friend and tell her I need to vent or I will loose it. She gets to call me anytime too. We are both moms of toddlers so we get it, we love our kids but sometimes we just have to let someone else in on the crazy! When I hang up I hug my kids and feel ready to keep going -J.S.
Rewind & Do Over
I regroup and “Do-over”…I realize my modeling positive behavior after blowing it is as if not MORE important than “doing it right” in the first place. Everyone loses their cool. How I make it right is key. – Claire
The “rewind” button is super helpful. I just tell my kids and myself we are going to “rewind” and start over. – Sarah
I also try to know what it feels like when I’m “heading toward” losing my temper so I can stop or slow w-a-y down before it actually happens. – Sarah
After really blowing it with my kids a few times, I started to notice the little things that were setting me off, now I try to get a grip and change course ahead of time. Of course sometimes I don’t make it but when I hear my nasty voice I can stop myself and remember that I want to do better. -Amy
Turn up the Music
Just put on some music and dance…dance until everyone is giggling and feeling better! It sounds weird but it really works, even if you have really little time, 30 seconds of music helps! -mama to 3
Write it out
I keep a journal and If I’m having a tough time, I go to my journal and write it all down so that I can re-focus. The writing helps me realize what I’m really mad about, and it’s usually not what my kids are doing but really that I have something going on in my life that is making me stressed and that way I can re-focus and not take it out on the kids. -Jamie
I’ve learned that I can apologize. I’m not saying that as an excuse to just yell but to say we should forgive ourselves and also let our children know we feel badly and that we are sorry because it shows them what we hope they will do if they yell at us or at someone else one day if they also feel angry. -Michelle
related reading: Yelling & How to Repair from a Disconnected Moment with your Child
Be Mindful and Present
Sometimes I feel like I’m thinking about everything I need to do but forget that my child needs me in that moment to be really there, focused on him. So I put my thoughts on hold and focus just on him and then things get done so much faster because we are totally in sync instead of me thinking of a million things and not really paying attention to him. – Melanie
If I can just breathe and know that what my baby needs is for me to be calm and really present then we both calm down and can just be together. I like to look into his eyes and feel so blessed to be a mom! – Emma
Thank you to all parents that shared their ideas for finding ways to return to calm.
No matter how much you love your child there will be moments when you feel totally frustrated, angry, and at a loss for what to do…that is OK…positive parenting is NOT about perfection. Your job is to have the courage to show up, and to strive to solve these conflicts in a respectful manner.
If you need to pause and cool off, don’t be afraid to say “I need a break” and if you catch yourself yelling try to stop and say “let’s start this over!”
What is your go-to way of calming down instead of getting angry with your child?
Peace & Be Well,
Check out my new book 12 Alternatives to Time Out: Connected Discipline Tools for Raising Cooperative Children for more on setting up calm down plans, using music to motivate children and breathing games for everyone to calm down instead of melting down.