Let’s play a little game.
Have you ever lost your cool with your kids? Did your children ever jumped on your last nerve? Have you ever felt overwhelmed and your child was the recipient of your angry outburst? YES! Yes and yes! Now what? For me, I cannot stand when I behave that way and I know what effects it has on my little ones. I am going to give you a sneak peek into a recent “parent fail” of mine.
First allow me to give you a little background information. One of my pet peeves is to hear someone crushing a plastic water bottle. That being said, here is what happened.
I had a typical day teaching Pre-K and then coaching my “Girls on the Run” team. I was ready to go home and relax. My eight-year-old son was in the backseat and decided to read his new library book for the drive home. Yes…. I was going to enjoy 25 minutes or so of quiet time.
Then it happened – CRUNCH! I asked my son to stop squeezing the water bottle while he is reading. Of course he said, “I don’t have a water bottle.” I glanced back and the bottle was in the pocket of his door. His feet were on the seat and pressed against it. I asked him to keep his feet off of it. He must have kicked it 2-3 more times before I lost it. I yelled, removed privileges, and acted like a total jerk.
Within a matter of seconds, the guilt flooded in. What the heck was I thinking? I wasn’t. I allowed my emotions to get the best of me at the expense of my child. C-R-A-P. What’s a mom to do? There were so many options; I am embarrassed to think about it. But let me just list those I could have implemented while driving.
Take some deep calming breaths.
Ask my child to hand me the bottle.
Count to myself.
Ask myself why this noise was getting to me.
Utilize my essential oil bracelet that I was wearing.
Use an “I feel” statement to clearly convey my message.
Here are some additional options, if I were not in the car.
Tell my child, “Mommy needs a break.” and walk away.
Think about my “Happy Place.”
Change my activity.
Remove the water bottle.
Guess what else I didn’t do because I was mad at myself? I didn’t explain to my child why I behaved that way and I didn’t apologize. There are so many benefits to communicating our feelings clearly and calmly. Obviously, I made a mistake in the way I reacted. But I should have brought attention to my mistake and apologized to my child. Being a good model is so important. It also teaches that it is ok to make mistakes and when we do, we need to apologize. I needed to reconnect with my child and I missed that opportunity. However, I learned from that as well. In the reconnection I could have explained what led to my irrational behavior and that I need to practice my calming down techniques so I do not hurt his feelings.
There are so many lessons I have learned from this hiccup in my parenting. I know I am not alone in this journey. (Raise your virtual hand if you are with me!) These bumps in the road are happening to all of us. Mistakes are going to happen and we need to remember there is no such thing as a “perfect parent.”
We are all doing the best we can and we will get emotional. It is how we handle that emotion that is going to dictate how successful our children will become. Just like we get embarrassed when our children act out in the grocery store or in a restaurant….. they will also make us proud in how they care for others. How they behave in a public place when their emotions are running high and how they use strategies to control themselves. They will remember and practice what we have taught them, so let’s be that example.
To talk more about this and other parenting topics, visit my Facebook group, Success in Parenting, and read our recent discussions about being parents. Currently are exploring ways to control our anger and be excellent role models for our little ones. At Success in Parenting you will find support, a listening ear, and strategies that may be helpful. Input in our group is what makes it successful!