There are few worse feelings in motherhood than the guilt you feel after yelling at your children. We all know that we need to stay calm during difficult moments and not yell. Yet, it happens. We’re human. With three of my own running around I’m forever using all the techniques on how to be more patient. And trust me, it has been so much more rewarding being intentional when problems arise than letting my emotions take over.
*This is a post in my series “Be A Happier Mom In 31 Days.“*
Honestly, I do feel like a really patient person. When there is chaos around, I’m always the first of my friends to think rationally and handle it in the best way. But when my buttons are pushed again and again, when there is so much I am not getting done and when my anxiety is in overdrive…I am reactive.
I have felt guilty every single time I lost my cool. Once after a really bad day, my then 4 year old told me, “I want my nice mom. I don’t like when you’re the mean mom.” My heart broke. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized I needed to figure out how to be more patient with the kids before it was too late.
Not only is yelling at your kids mentally and emotionally harmful, but researchers found the effects are just as bad as physical abuse. It’s also damaging to us, their parents. Expressing our anger in negative ways increase our stress levels, which can lead to a number of health issues. That’s why you have to go in to every situation with a game plan. Here are 7 plays you can use to win against being the “mean mom”.
How To Be More Patient
When it feels like you can’t take it anymore, try smiling. It’s hard to yell when you’re smiling, right? Even though you feel your emotions bubbling over, you gotta fake it til you make it. Your kids won’t know, I promise.
Forget how many dishes you have left to wash, or however many clothes you have left to fold. Take a break from what you’re doing and jump off the couch with your kid. If they’ve made a mess, take out your camera and document it for laughs later. Unless they’re doing something dangerous, just let it go and play along. Let them be little for as long as you can.
Keep it real
I don’t know how many times simply saying, “Mommy is getting very upset” has turned my kids behavior around. Being honest about your feelings with your children allows them to know when you’ve had enough and it also brings you closer together. By sharing your feelings, they will share theirs when they need to, too.
Get down on their level
I have always found that talking to my kids has a much better outcome than talking at them. Kneel down, look them in the eyes and talk to them about their behavior and your expectations. Explain why they can’t do this or that. Doing this ensures not only that they can hear what you’re saying, but that they are listening too.
Use a nickname
When you use a nickname, it automatically makes you more soft and empathetic. Especially in their eyes. Can you really lose it when you’re calling them love, baby, bud etc? I doubt it.
Take a timeout
Sometimes the best thing to do is to walk away from the situation all together. When you feel like nothing else is working, take a few minutes to be by yourself and clear your head. Breathe long, deep breaths and maybe even sneak a piece of chocolate.
If all else fails, and sometimes it will, say you’re sorry. Apologizing shows them that you care about their feelings and that how you reacted was wrong. If you can take accountability for your actions, they will too. Giving them an apology teaches them the power of forgiveness as well. While you’re at it, forgive yourself and try to do better next time.
I know what it’s like to try to be productive while dealing with tantrums, all the questions, and messes everywhere. Or, actually being productive and coming back to see your little artist has made a new masterpiece on their room wall. As inconvenient or infuriating as that can be, it’s up to us to not take those emotions out on our children. Easier said than done but hopefully these tips help you as much as they’ve helped me. Do you have any other tips on how to keep your patience? I’d love to hear them!