No need to feel ashamed, trust me we have ALL been there. Those manic moments where you have completely lost your temper because of something your kids have done or haven’t done. But, what do you do when you are continuously losing your cool and feel like your getting frustrated all the time?
How do you stop running through those “I am going to lose it” cycles?
1. Get to safety
So you have had your moment of rage, you realize now that maybe you’ve taken it a little bit too far and you’re actually a bit apologetic for your behavior. It’s time to step aside and take a moment to think “what the heck just happened?” Remove yourself from those antagonizing young ones for a moment and take a deep breath. This could mean retreating to the bathroom, your closet or even just turning your back if you are in a situation where you cannot leave. Whatever you choose, get there quickly.
2. Determine your whereabouts
While in this space that you will now designate as your safe zone, you want to collect your thoughts and emotions. Your body is present but where is your mind? What are you thinking? Your goal is to get your body back to a state of calm where your blood vessels no longer feel like they are going to pop, your heartrate has regulated back to normal and you are unlikely to cause any emotional or physical danger or harm. While in your safe zone label your emotion, take 3 deep breathes and tell yourself the following:
- I am feeling very __________ but I can work through this
- Why am I getting upset?
- Stay calm…. I can handle this
- It’s ok to be upset I just need time to think about my next steps
- I am a good parent and I love my kids I just need a moment
3. Call for help
It is ok to ask for help. Really!!! If you are honest with yourself on those days you are feeling really impatient with your kids it’s because you are feeling overwhelmed, stressed and tired. When your patience bank running on overdraft it is extremely difficult to handle these problematic encounters with your kids. You are an amazing parent but even the elite need assistance. Call upon those you know who truly support you and your children for help. Speak up and let your spouse, parents, siblings, extended family members, neighbors, close friends know you are feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and angry and need help. Maybe you need someone to babysit for an hour so you can just spend time reading a book at the local coffee shop. Why not invite your siblings over to play with the kids as you finish up some tasks around the house, ask your friends to join you as you go grocery shopping so you don’t have to manage behaviours and your shopping list. Think about what it is that you need and don’t hesitate to ask for the help you need in order to achieve it.
That ugly manic side of you reared its head because you naturally ran out of patience. It happens, but now it’s time to replenish your patience tank by doing the things you enjoy, find relaxing and rejuvenating. We say this so many times but how often do we actually take the time to schedule in some “ME” time so you can feel restored and refreshed. I retreat daily to my safe zone and play my favourite Candy Crush puzzle game for a few minutes during the day. This gives me a short break and helps me refocus so I can have a better train of thought. You truly deserve a chance to recharge! Your kids and loved ones will love you for it too!
5. 6 Litres of Prevention
2 liters of sleep/relaxation strategies +2 liters of “Me” time +2 liters of help = 6 liters of prevention
Now I can almost guarantee that your patience tank had probably been blinking to warn you it was almost empty for quite a while but you just ignored the signs. Being proactive instead of reactive is your goal. Recognize the signs early, are you getting extra irritated when your kids do very minor things? Some kids may not even understand why you are so upset and others are rejoicing because they love to see you upset. It’s important if you have lost your patience to return to your child and explain what happened, why you got upset and how both of you can prevent that from happening again.
As parents I know it gets busy and we are often are juggling many things but if your tank is running on empty, too often it is time to make some changes. Prioritize what is truly important to the family and eliminate the things you can so you are not always so overwhelmed. Make an effort to get a good night’s sleep, identify and use your relaxation strategies, schedule your “ME” time so you will be more inclined to take it and ask for help so you will never run completely empty. These steps will minimize those outrageous guilty, embarrassing manic moments from happening.
If you enjoyed this post and know other parents whose patience tank is running on empty- share