Frustrated. Angry. Ready to react in a nasty way. Don't. Tons of research shows that nothing is gained by becoming angry, shouting at or hitting your children and it has a very detrimental effect on their mental, social and emotional growth. Here are some tips you can use when you are about to lose your patience. Use these, before things turn bad.
"Children may need timeouts after they misbehave. But parents do need timeouts BEFORE they get angry" - a wise parent
As soon as you sense your frustration levels going up, sit down. It has multiple beneficial effects. When you are standing up, you are looking down on children as they are smaller. Human nature has been trained to dominate those smaller than ourselves. Subliminally, millions of years of evolution, teach you to try and dominate. Sitting down helps you get over this deeprooted feeling. Sitting down brings your child (especially the smaller ones) at your eye level. It makes you perceive them as being more equal to you. This will temper your response greatly.
Just stop. As much as you love to talk, often your own words sabotage your emotions. When they fall on your ears, they remind you of your disappointment at whatever it is that caused your frustration. They reinforce your emotions in a negative direction and make things worse. So just stop talking. Put your hand over your mouth if you have to.
Or two or three or more. Slow down your heart and lower your blood pressure. Inhale and exhale slowly. Pranayama has been a time-honoured technique in India. Use it. It works even in a simple form.
Yes, really! Every problem does not have to be solved at the immediate instant. Walk away for a minute and come back. It takes your mind off the issue for a very short period and lets you think rationally. You would not have lost the opportunity to explain to your child about what they did wrong, as the child would not have forgotten it in a minute.
It has been proved repeatedly that writing your thoughts down always cools down your passion. Brain researchers have found by observing various parts of the brain, that writing, regulates emotions. It is also cathartic. It gives us the feeling that we have said what we wanted to say to the other person. We can just throw that paper away, but the feeling of triumph remains. Try it.
Go to the nearest bathroom and throw some cold water on your face. A shower is even better but just washing your face is more practical. Water has a very cooling effect on you and your temper.
Go to your bedroom and punch the bed, or throw a pillow at the wall or take a handkerchief, make it a ball and throw it around . All are acts that will not break anything (hopefully!). These will help you get the anger out of your system.
All of the above techniques, are ways to slow yourself down, to take a few seconds or longer to calm down and react in a more measured manner. If you do react angrily once in a while (as all human beings do), do not dwell on it and get depressed. Just apologize to your children. Little children can often dust off the occasional bout of anger from you and focus on the love you give them. But if you get angry too often, you need to find a way to stop it. Remember that a parent who is angry a lot, has a strong negative effect on a child's emotional and social development.
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