Kids are hard work. They will bring you to your highest highs and drop you to your lowest lows. Your kids mean everything to you, and that’s why they can so easily mess with you emotionally.
Sometimes you are going to lose it. If you are a parent who has never lost your mind, mood, or temper over your child, you are superhuman. You are also a liar!
If you’ve let go of control and screamed at your child or said things you weren’t proud of, all is not lost. Your relationship is not damaged forever, but you should take some steps to make sure your child knows that everything is okay. Here are some steps to take when you lose it with your kid.
Don’t be too hard on yourself.
There is nothing to be gained from beating yourself up over a parenting mistake. One lesson kids need to learn is that everyone goes over the edge now and then, even parents. You are still a good person, and you are still a good parent. You are not a failure and you are just as capable as the parents next door who seem to be perfect.
Own up to your mistake and claim it. Don’t let your child think that your lack of control is anyone’s fault but your own. Yes, your child’s behaviors contributed to the situation. But you are ultimately responsible for your own choices. Losing control and yelling was your decision, not your kid’s. Admit that out loud to your child and make it clear that adults’ choices are not the fault of children.
There was a time in history when an adult would never dream of apologizing to a child because the adult felt it would signal a loss of authority or power. This is not the case. Being able to apologize to your child is a valuable teaching tool that will help your child tremendously with the challenges of life.
Your child is one of the most important people who will ever be part of your life. Your child is not your enemy, and it’s important to remember that even when you’re feeling angry. Take some time to consider how your child may be interpreting the situation, and how your child may be feeling. Try to experience the situation from that point of view.
When in doubt, ask your child to explain or express feelings about what happened. Ask about the events leading up to the confrontation and what happened afterward. You might be surprised to hear a kid’s point of view.
Model good coping skills.
The next time you are in a confrontation with your child or anyone else, especially if your child is present, intentionally model good communication and coping skills. Thinking about what you’re doing will help you make better decisions, and your child will learn from seeing you react appropriately.
Every parent makes mistakes, and it’s okay if you lose your temper now and then. If you find yourself wanting to physically hurt your child or if your behavior becomes abusive, get help immediately. But losing your cool now and then is something you can overcome and even turn into an advantage in your relationship with your kid.
You aren’t perfect, and neither are your children. Teach them how to work together with you to make the situation better for everyone.