So, you yelled and you feel like a crappy parent. Now what?
Hey there, screamyMcScreamer.
Haha, I'm kidding.. you definitely are not the only one who’s opened this article thinking about the recent time you yelled at your kids… “shit, yeah.. I totally yelled.”
You might feel at a loss when you’re trying to get your children to do something and they don’t listen unless you yell! Ever felt frustrated at saying the same things over and over and OVER AND GETTING LOUDER EVERY TIME YOU’RE IGNORED? Have you ever engaged in a battle over homework or over the left over half eaten yogurt container in their lunch?
If you’ve experienced yelling, you are not alone. In fact, it’s even unusual!
You know what you are? A human being, and a parent… at the same time!
Freakin' warrior, you.
I get it, because I’ve yelled.
YUP! Me.. a parenting practitioner, who went to school to teach parents solutions for parenting challenges and children’s behaviour issues… I’ve yelled, and I’ll yell again. And again. And again. Parenting is fucking hard. It’s hard to figure out how to discipline our kids, its hard to not loose our shit… it just is! Sometimes we get it right, other times there’s tears, yelling, hurt feelings, shame, guilt, disconnection and its exhausting!
Have you ever found yourself asking after you’ve yelled at your kids, “Can I do better than this?” “Is there a way I can learn to control my emotions?” “How do I discipline my kids that doesn’t create a shit storm, or power struggle but rather peace?..” answer? Yes! Yes there is, and its simple! : Alcohol. Haha, okay, I’m kidding.. Welllll.. sometimes. If you haven’t ever had a nice hot, bubbly, salty bath with a fancy glass of wine after your kids are all asleep.. AND you hadn’t lost your shit that day! You should reward yourself and try it!
Getting back to good sustainable parenting advice, there IS ways for a better ways! And we talk about that in other articles in the HUB! In this article we are going to look at and talk about “AFTER” the explosion.
How many of you freak the fuck out and then immediately after,.. or late once they are in bed, feel like ..”shit, I could have done that better?” ME!
So you yelled. Here are some things you want to start to do after.
CALM THE FUCK DOWN.
You are a parent 24/7! I couldn’t imagine walking 24/7, having sex 24/7, or even eating spaghetti 24/7, and I love 2/3 of those things! I don’t think a single human who could do one specific thing ALL THE TIME. It’s human to get overwhelmed, tired, frustrated, feeling invisible or even hungry once in a while. Spoiler alert: These feelings don’t magically disappear after you yell. Usually you will feel worse. Now you’re feeling tense, and upset, and guilty.. If you just let those feelings swirl around without addressing them things won’t get any better. You NEED to take a minute to calm down, to get present in your body and acknowledge whatever you are feeling and let the stress and overwhelm pass a little.
One of the best lifelong lessons you can teach your kids from yelling is modeling to your children that you need a moment to calm down. When you are feeling out of control as a parent, just like a “terrible 2-year-old,” or any teenager for that matter- will eventually experience.. You need a moment to figure out your feelings, calm down, and think before moving on. How amazing of a lesson to be able to teach your kids for managing their emotions! You can do this even before you yell, and that eventually the goal! But for right now, since you already yelled.. Stop in all the chaos, and just breathe. Breathe in your nose, out your nose. Do it again until your heart rate slows down, until you notice where the tension is in your body. You then say to your child, “I’m feeling (insert emotion) and I need to take a little break (insert where) and I will be back in a few minutes when I’ve calmed down my emotions.” Remove yourself from the situation to prevent escalation, saying things you wouldn’t mean or any other harm. Get a drink of water, have a breather in the bathroom, get fresh air or simply get a drink of water. Bring yourself back together by making connections without blaming yourself. Are you hungry? Tired? Have you had a long day? Is your child tired? Would this normally upset me this much?
Say to yourself, “I’m learning and this takes practice, this happens.”
Once you’ve had a chance to catch your breath, think about how you are going to do the following steps:
APOLOGIZE & EXPLAIN
Coming back to the situation or where your child is, to reconnect with your child. Reconnect by first apologizing. Apologize for you and your actions, not about whatever happened to cause the outburst. Without blame, or criticism, just own what happened. “I’m sorry I yelled and for scaring you, I made a mistake. “ What a great opportunity to teach your children we are all human, we all make bad choices and lose it sometimes, but when that happens we take responsibility for our actions and apologize. Sometimes kids can become very frightened and upset when their parents yell at them. Be sure to take the time after yelling to give your kids a hug and just assure them that you still love them more than ever, you just lost your cool for a minute.
Sometimes after an apology you might need to explain the situation, because sometimes what happened gets lost in all the chaos. Explain why you didn’t manage things better – because you can’t expect kids to know or understand that you are tired, or stressed out, or overwhelmed unless you tell them. Explain how I could have handled the situation better – because we can’t learn unless we work out how to do better next time. Without blame, or criticism, just own what happened. “Making mistakes is just part of being a parent and I’m learning how to control my feelings, and I’m trying not to do that.”
Yelling, calming down, apologising, and then explaining, doesn’t make the initial trigger disappear. Try to give yourself, and your children another opportunity to make what ever didn’t work, work. You can have a calm conversation with your child and come up with a plan to deal with a problem.
Or maybe you need to acknowledge some things that are stressing you out, (like work, relationships, finances, need for “you” time….) It can be beneficial to make a list of current stressors and find ways to remove, delegate, or reduce the things on your plate.
Lastly, CONNECT WITH YOUR CHILD.
A parenting shit storm is often a good reminder that maybe you need to spend some time connecting with your child. It’s a good way to show them you are sorry, and that you are not still angry, and it is a great way to stop similar situations happening in the future. Take time to spend TIME with your child and really connect with them. Watch a movie, bake, play a game or go for a walk. Take time to do nothing. Take the time to play. Take the time to do something for 30 minutes or an hour without purpose, other than the purpose of being present, and connecting.
Be kind to yourself. Don’t beat yourself up or feel too guilty for yelling at your kids. Shit happens. You’re human. We all have our bad days and nobody is perfect. Be sure to forgive yourself. Continue to practise, working towards the goal of just recognizing your triggers and stressors. Once you can recognize you are not having a good day or you’re tired, hungry, or emotionally sensitive- you can take a breather or “calm down” preventing a blow out before it happens.