Blowing a gasket. Loosing your cool. There are a lot of sayings for getting angry, and just letting it out, but never should it be done in front of a child. Children throw tantrums, but adults never should in front of their kids.
“Studies have shown that parents who express a lot of anger in front of their kids end up with less empathetic children. These kids are more aggressive and more depressed than peers from calmer families, and they perform worse in school. Anger has a way of undermining a kid’s ability to adapt to the world,” says Matthew McKay, Ph.D., a professor at the Wright Institute in Berkeley, CA, and coauthor of When Anger Hurts Your Kids.
This is important to keep in mind when fighting the wrath that every adult feels from time to time. Here are a few helpful tips that might help you keep your cool in front of kids.
-Take a breather in another room. This one might be helpful for those that just need their space. Make sure another guardian is there to watch your tots, and just escape for a bit, whether a bathroom, bedroom, or backyard that space will be yours for the next few minutes to gather your energy towards combating that angry little devil on your shoulder. Scream into a pillow, pace, or just jump up and down in the same spot; dispel that negative energy in a way that will help you calm down.
-Counting. We’ve all heard the advice: “Count back from 10 until your calm again.” Well there has to be some truth to that for some. Whenever the anger strikes, step back a bit and count; count in tens, twos, hundreds, backwards or forwards, just take the time to separate your mind from the moment and do something mundane, and grounding.
-Remember a funny story. It may be hard to do, especially in the heat of the moment, but try to remember a time that made your sides split with laughter. Often times, situations can have humor in them, even if it is in a darker sense. Remember that there is joy in life; anger is fleeting but it can leave deep marks in a child’s psyche.
-Close your eyes and imagine paradise. If your having trouble escaping, or the numbers and stories don’t help; try closing your eyes, and imagining your own special paradise. Maybe it’s your home on a snowy morning, snuggling with the sleeping kids, or maybe it’s a more tropical location. Build your special place in your mind and go there for a bit.
Patience is a virtue, and should be practiced by all parents. Keep your cool in front of the kids, and don’t sweat the small stuff.