How to avoid losing it with your children

Mum telling daughter off
As parents we do not have an inexhaustible supply of energy and enthusiasm, so if the patience is running thin, fear not, help is at hand!

“Everyone gets angry with their kids at some time or another – it’s normal; it’s healthy,” says parenting coach Sue Atkins. “Kids know just what buttons to push, and they push them! It helps to accept that anger is an honest emotion, but it’s what you choose to do with your anger that’s important.”

Try these top tips when it all gets a bit too much:

  • Press an imaginary internal ‘pause’ button. Ask yourself, “What exactly am I annoyed or angry about?” This helps you step back from a situation and puts you back in control, helping to calm you down.
  • Keep an anger diary, even if it’s a mental one. You will probably discover that you get wound up by the same things over and over again. Your anger diary will help you notice your anger triggers and give you a warning.
  • Notice physical changes in yourself – what physical signs do you get to warn you that you are about to lose it? Do you start to breathe faster? Go red? By starting to notice your physical signs you are again getting back in control and stepping back from the situation.
  • Ask yourself, “Is my attitude moving me closer to or further away from the relationship I want with my child long-term?” Immediately this gets you thinking about the bigger picture.
  • Talk openly and honestly with your child about how you feel, such as saying, “I’m tired of telling you this over and over again because I feel…” or “I’m angry with you because…’. Phrases like these teach your child about empathy and immediately take the emotional charge out of your frustration.
  • When speaking to your child, be very clear yourself about what is and what isn’t acceptable. Think about how you teach your children what you expect (they can’t always guess) and be firm, consistent and fair.