Simple Parenting

3 Things to Do the Next Time You Lose Your Cool With Your Kids

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I adore my boys, but I have to admit—sometimes parenting pushes me past my limits and I lose my cool.

I know it happens to all of us, but it still leaves me feeling all kinds of terrible. That’s why I try to do 3 specific things when I lose it; taking these three steps when I blow my stack with my kids really helps set things right again:

1️⃣ Start by offering a genuine apology, without blaming your kiddo for what happened (yeah, even if they made you really, really mad).

Instead of, “I’m sorry, but you shouldn’t have done that,” try an *I statement* like, “I felt really frustrated when you kept [fill in the blank] after I asked you to stop. But I shouldn’t have yelled at you. I’m sorry.”

This helps remind them that we’re all responsible for how we react to things, even when someone else sets us off in the first place.

2️⃣ Think about what triggered you to lose your temper. Was it a specific behavior, a particularly stressful time of day, or maybe something they said?

Becoming aware of your emotional triggers will help you be on alert for situations that set you off—so you’ll be able to diffuse them before you snap.

3️⃣ Finally, after the moment’s passed, think about 1 thing you can do to help you keep your cool next time.

For example, I can feel my chest tighten when I’m about to yell. So I’m working on doing a better job of noticing when that tightness starts, and to take a few deep breaths (before I go off the deep end).

Whatever you do, don’t beat yourself up. Parenting is hard, and we ALL lose our cool every once in a while. It’s what you teach your kids about what to do when you mess up that has the greatest impact!

Robyn is Editor-in-Chief at ParentsTogether and is co-author of several NYTimes bestselling anthologies. She lives in southern Michigan with her husband and five children.