Prevention Is Key To Avoiding This Common Parenting Mistake

Parenting is sometimes a frustrating business – there is always too much to do, and too little time to do it.  There are a million little worries and daily details to take care of while raising a family, and that’s on top of working, cooking, cleaning, and other responsibilities.

It’s little wonder, then, that we lose our cool sometimes.  We are overworked, overwhelmed, and overloaded.  All the stress and busyness of the day can cause us to lash out at the ones we love most – our little ones.

Every parent – even if they are the most patient person in the world – has raised their voice or full-on screamed at their kids from time to time.  It is a common reaction to our feelings of being overwhelmed and out of control.  When we yell at our kids, it often makes us feel even worse than we already did – but there are ways to reconnect and repair the parent-child bond when we lose our cool.

Lemon Lime Adventures reported on a few ways to mend the family fences after yelling at your kids:

Explain: When you catch yourself yelling, stop, calm yourself down, and simply explain to your kids why you got upset.

Everyone – kids and parents alike – make mistakes and have times where they feel out of control.  Explain to your child that you are not perfect; that you feel tired and irritable sometimes just like they do.  Make comparisons to a time they got upset so they can understand parents are people too!

Apologize: Offering a real and sincere apology will go a long way towards reconnecting after yelling at your kids. Don’t include any excuses here, only an apology. “I’m sorry that I yelled, I will try to do better.”

Apologizing to your kids lets them know that you respect them and that their feelings matter.  Tell them that when we truly regret doing something, it helps us to think about our actions in the future and try to avoid the same situation.

Comfort and Love Them: Sometimes kids can become very frightened and upset when their parents yell at them. Be sure to take the time after yelling to give your kids a hug and just assure them that you love them.

Kids are resilient, but they can also be very sensitive to any changes around them.  They depend on us for consistency and security, so when we yell, they may feel frightened at the reaction they are seeing in the people they trust and depend on most.

Forgive Yourself: Don’t beat yourself up too much or feel too guilty for yelling at your kids. It happens, we all have our bad days, and nobody is perfect.

When we yell, it actually increases the physical and emotional stressors already present that caused us to yell in the first place.  Realize you are only human, doing a superhuman job – raising kids is the hardest job in the world.

As long as it is not a common occurrence, our children will understand we made a mistake and move on.  They know how much we love them and are quick to forgive.  Now, forgive yourself – it happens to all of us.

Now that you have some techniques to repair the emotional upset that yelling can cause, there are also some ways to prevent it from happening again.

Think about why things got out of control – what you were doing, thinking, or feeling.  Did you plan too much for the day?  Did work, bills, or housework pile up?  Did you skip lunch or not get enough sleep?  These can make all of us feel run down and on edge.

Trying to prevent the things that cause us stress can go a long way toward being calm throughout the day.  Begin the day with a positive attitude, take on one task at a time (moms are pros at multitasking, but then we get easily burned out!), and take a break if you feel yourself getting overwhelmed.

Parents has some great preventative strategies to keep things under control:

Stack the odds. Does it drive you crazy that your toddler likes to dump every foodstuff known to man on the floor? Chances are, if he can’t reach the cereal and rice boxes, he can’t pour them out. Basic babyproofing is a real sanity saver; the more intact your sanity, the less you’ll yell.

Tune in to yourself. Make note of when you’re most likely to lose it and troubleshoot accordingly. Is it first thing in the morning before you’ve had your coffee? Then get your husband to play with your child while you savor that first cup of the day. Or buy a coffeemaker with a timer that starts brewing before you wake up.

Lower your expectations. If you find yourself yelling at your kids all the time, you may simply be expecting too much of them. There’s only so long a baby can sit crammed into a car seat or a toddler can walk in a mall. Acquaint yourself with what’s developmentally appropriate and then tweak your actions.

Be strategic. Find ways to accomplish stressful tasks without your children in tow. If all of you lose it in the grocery store, shop for groceries online after they’re in bed — or even head out to the store after nine, when it’s empty and you can shop quickly and efficiently.

Ask for help. Taking care of young children can be exhausting to say the least. And yelling is a definite sign of stress and fatigue, which means you need (and deserve) a break! Have your husband or a trusted babysitter step in for half a day so you can get some much-needed time to rejuvenate.

And, remember, taking time for yourself is key.  Putting in a full day taking care of others is tiring.  We need to be mentally and physically healthy to do the most important job on earth!

The key to stopping the yelling is to prevent that which makes us overwhelmed and ready to blow our tops.  Avoid the situations that are triggers for your kids and yourself, and enlist help when you know you have a difficult day ahead.

What are some of the triggers you find you must avoid to prevent yelling at the kids?  What are some of your tips for keeping your cool during a busy day with the little ones?  Leave us your thoughts in the comments.

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