Wednesday, October 7th, 2015
Parenting can be rewarding as well as incredibly stressful. Dr Justin Coulson promotes ‘how to keep your cool underpressure’. It involves being calm, the kind of parent you want to be.
Children can be challenging and you can tend to feel stretched, overwhelmed and burdened. However, it is crucial to remain calm and deal with the situation as oppose to getting angry. Your child is more likely to learn from something if they are told and not shouted at. While anger is a powerful signal that change may be required, the emotion is unfortunately all-too-often unhelpful. Here is a quick and easy list of 15 ways we can keep calm and deal with situations.
1. Get enough sleep
We tend to be poor parents when we are tired. Our acuity, patience, and openness are higher when we are well-rested. Make sure that if anger is encroaching, that you are getting enough sleep.
2. Consider why
Most children behave in challenging ways for one of six reasons: hunger, anger, loneliness, tiredness, stress, or sickness. When we pause to consider why they?re being difficult, we can help them solve problems rather than getting mad.
3. Be compassionate
Often children?s challenging behaviour needs compassion, not chastisement.
4. Bite your tongue
A common misconception about anger is that if we get it out we will feel better. Science suggests otherwise. Getting it out only facilitates its build and spread. We tell our children that, ?If you can?t say something nice, don?t say it.? We would do well to remember that counsel for ourselves when angry.
5. Use time out
Sometimes it is best to simply say, ?I?m sending myself to my room and I won?t come out until I?ve calmed myself down and can act like a grown-up.? Obviously we cannot leave small children unattended, nor would we leave siblings who are fighting. But this strategy can help us get a bearing on things, shift perspectives, and respond with calmness in the right circumstances.
6. The calm/kind mantra
Many of my parenting coaching clients have found that repeating the mantra, ?Calm and kind, calm and kind, calm and kind? helps them focus on the kind of parent that they want to be and reduces their anger.
7. Slow down
Often we are angry because we feel stressed and pressured. By slowing down, dropping the agenda, and focusing on the present, we can postpone our anger and work on solutions to our challenges more productively.
8. Be on the same team
When children are challenging we often see them as the obstacle or problem. Remember that they are dealing with an obstacle of problem, and see them as a person who is struggling. It is easier to stay calm when we see our children as people ? on the same team as us ? having a hard time.
9. Be close
When we find ourselves getting angry one of the most powerful things we can do is to hug our children. Hold them tight. Tell them we love them. Remind them of what it means to be good to each other.
10. Imagine they?re your neighbour?s kids
We tend to treat other people?s children better than our own. We don?t yell at, threaten, or hit other people?s children. And we control our temper far better with other people present. Next time you?re getting a little hot under the collar, imagine you?re dealing with your neighbour?s children ? and you can?t send them home!
11. Go for a walk
When anger is welling up, ask your child to come for a walk with you. Hold their hand and walk around the block with them. Don?t talk unless you must, and keep your conversation kind. Just spend time slowing down and being together.
12. Be patient with yourself
It is hard work being a parent. There may be nothing more challenging in all the world. Often your anger at yourselves (for struggling with lots of stuff in life) is redirected at your children. So be patient with yourself. Show yourself some kindness and compassion, and recognise that you?re not going to be perfect ? but it?s about moving forward one day at a time.