Monday, 28 May 2012

How to avoid getting angry at your kids – 4 tips.

Being a mum is hard.  I know, I have four children!  It's a lot of work, and it's easy to get stressed out sometimes, and get angry at them.  If you do get angry at your children, you are not alone.  I don't know any parents who have never lost their temper.  But we know anger isn't good for our children, so here are four tips to help you keep your cool.

1. Check what you are really angry about:

Sometimes we are already angry about something else in our life, and the kids pick up on this and they feel anxiety because of it. Then they behave badly because of their anxiety. Then we overreact because we were already angry to start with. It turns into a bad cycle, and it is not fair on the kids because it is not their fault and they may feel it is their fault. This is what you have to do: First deal with the thing that is really making you angry. If you can't deal with it straight away, decide to deal with it at a later time (like when the kids are at school, or they are asleep). Don't let it ruin your time with your kids. If you do slip and get angry at the kids, apologise to them, and let them know it wasn't their fault. It is good for them to learn how to apologise when they make mistakes, because they learn through modeling your behavior.

2. Expect and Accept that kids will be kids:

Usually when we get angry at our kids behavior, it is because we expected better from them. But it is in a child's nature to explore, experiment and push their boundaries. It is how they learn and grow. So you must expect mess, chaos and noise! That is just how kids are, it is reality. Once you have accepted that you can look at ways to prevent and minimise the chaos, and deal with it when it inevitably happens!

If you are a new mother, you may have expected to continue the same type of lifestyle you had before you had kids. Maybe you are now frustrated that you cant live that way anymore. It can be easy to get caught up in stress and despair at this new life you now have, being a mother, and not knowing how to cope. Becoming a mother is like being thrown in the deep end of a swimming pool, nothing can prepare you. The sooner you accept the new changes in your life and swim, the better. Being a mother doesn't mean your life is over, it is the start of a new different life. Being a mother can be an amazing, fun and fulfilling journey... so embrace it!

3. Prevention:

Do what you can to prevent meltdowns. If you know what is triggering the children's behavior, or what is triggering your anger, you can take steps to prevent it. For example if the children are always fighting, you could teach them how to share by taking turns, or offer rewards or praise when they are playing nicely. If the children are tired and grumpy around dinner time, preventing you from cooking, maybe you could prepare dinner earlier in the day, or change the kids bedtime routine.
Keeping a routine helps, children are more content and settled with a routine. It is also good for you because not being organised leads to stress.
Remember if you feel calm and happy – your kids will feel better too. Good and bad moods are contagious!
Have some clear rules and discipline strategies. Be prepared by deciding how you will deal with your child's behavior before it happens again.

4. Deal with your emotions:

Find ways to calm down:
When you are feeling stressed, take deep, slow breaths, count to 10.  Try to relax and be patient.  Look after yourself, and don't take on too much work.  Try exercising, it will help you feel calmer. Putting on some music is also good to change the mood to a happy one. I like taking my kids out to the park, sometimes getting out of the house helps.
Never punish your kids while you are angry.  When you are angry, you are not thinking straight, and you may say or do things that you will regret. Instead, tell them: “I'll think about your punishment”, then take some time to cool down and gather your self. 

Change your self-talk:
Your self-talk is all those random thoughts that pop up in your mind. If they are negative thoughts, they are making you feel angry, depressed and frustrated. Here's how to change these thought patterns into positive ones: Get a notepad and draw a line down the center. Write the negative thoughts on one side. Go through the negative statements and write positive statements on the other side of the paper. Here's an example: “My kids are so annoying! I really need a break!” Change it to: “I'm blessed to have these beautiful, amazing children in my life. I am enjoying this short time with them while they are still young.” After you're done, read the positive statements everyday, morning and night. Read them with full belief and emotion as if they are true. These positive affirmations will become true, they will change how you feel very quickly.

I hope these tips help you. Please leave a comment if you have any other tips, questions or comments on “anger management”! Thanks :)

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