Don’t Let The Kids Drive You Crazy With These Stay-Sane Tips

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It is easy to let our emotions get the better of us when we are up all night with the baby and the rest of the kids decide to go on strike- refusing to do their chores. 

And you have every right to be upset! The problem comes in when we let the fatigue and lack of control over our children’s rebellious natures result in yelling and grounding for an illogical amount of time (“You’re grounded for a year if you don’t take the trash out now!”).

No need to fret, you’re human, all parents get carried away at times but we have just the solution for those high stress moments when you feel all you can do is scream.

Dr. Mark Travers told Psychology Today:

We all feel like we’re being held hostage by our emotions every now and then. While emotions can be overwhelming at times, most psychologists will tell you that they can also be powerful carriers of information about your mind and personality.”

While that notion may be scary to some who think they must be monsters because they turn into the Incredible Hulk every time there is spilled milk, emotions are an incredibly useful tool.

Emotions convey faults and strengths in our personalities as well as exhibiting love and gratitude.

If we are easily angered it could be because we crave order that is nearly non-existent in children’s behavior but can be positively directed toward creating a structured day that provides a safe environment – turning the anger toward happiness at the order you created. 

But during the transition period to becoming parent 2.0, here are some tips to keep the Hulk at bay.

Conquer rejection by being objective

You may be thinking, “What does rejection have to do with it?”

More than you think!

Much of our emotional state has to do with feeling loved, accepted, and appreciated, i.e. not being rejected. 

Psychology Today reports on psychologist Mark Leary of Duke University’s six forms of rejection: criticism, betrayal, active dissociation (like a breakup), passive dissociation not being included), being unappreciated, and being teased.

It’s kind of a mom’s MO to be unappreciated because kids are naturally selfish and don’t realize all you do for them until they become more mature. 

When you begin to feel that way it can translate to anger, sadness, and anxiety, according to Dr. Travers. 

Being appreciated makes us feel worthy and valued, so when we get caught up in the negative emotions stemming from rejection be objective about the situation.

Your child may be calling you names because they are frustrated they have to do chores and can’t play Legos. 

Your spouse may forget to say “thank you” for dinner because he has an upcoming deadline weighing on his mind. 

Write out what you are feeling upset about and an objective reason for why it is happening. 

It helps!

Be on alert for emotional patterns

Emotional dysregulation is an unhelpful emotional pattern.

Every time your son refuses to clean his room do you yell at him and slam his door threatening to take his video games while he yells threats back at you?

Or do you get frustrated over and over when your toddler throws their food off the high chair giving you one more thing to clean up after dinner?

Recognize your triggers and stop the reaction before it happens.

The trick is to find solutions when you are calm. 

The next time your son refuses to clean his room step away and write down 3 helpful tips for your son to get started cleaning and read it to him, better yet, hand it to him if he can read.

If this still doesn’t get the job done then calmly remind him when he tries to watch tv or go to a friend’s house how that won’t be happening because they weren’t able to clean their room.

They will be upset which you can wait out, but you would have broke an unhealthy emotional pattern for yourself, which is a great example for your kids. 

Wait your emotion out

Psychologist Jennifer Veilleux did a study on “thinking threshold” which she identified as the highest level of an emotional wave. 

During this climax of emotion logic and thinking is impaired so action should wait, or you’re likely react in an unhealthy way.

When your toddler rips the flowers out of the pot (again!) remove him from the situation and count to ten in your head while taking deep breaths before you teach him not to destroy the plant.

Chances are you will feel much more calm than the moment you saw your priceless flowers being ruined.

Getting to know how our emotions affect us and being familiar with the true reason behind their origin helps us to keep calm and collected during the trying and beautiful journey of parenthood. 

Don’t let negative emotions taint the gift of today but fill it with positive emotions that make us smile tomorrow.