I didn’t realize how impatient I was until I had children. My kids seemed to bring out all these hidden emotions inside of me! I quickly realized I was not the most patient mom.
With 3 kids there is always noise in our house. It’s usually around dinner time, I feel anger starting to boil inside my body.
I’m hungry! Can I have a snack? When is dinner ready? But I don’t like that for dinner (whine whine whine).
All while the baby is crying at my feet as I’m trying to put something safely into the oven.
Have you ever been there?
If the answer is yes, you are normal. As moms there are moments when we feel frustrated. That’s inevitable.
Especially living in these times of uncertainty stress levels are definitely heightened. So it’s natural that when your toddler tests your patience or the baby is whining all day you start to feel irritated.
But there are strategies we can use to be a more patient mom with your babies, toddlers and kids.
In this post I share three ways to remain calm and not lose your temper. Keep reading to find out how YOU can be more patient with kids!
Losing Patience? Lost Your Temper? There is help!
It’s natural to feel irritated. We can’t expect to never feel frustrated as a mom. BUT we can find ways to positively cope with this frustration. Find ways to deal with the difficulties of life without screaming at our kids all the time.
As a psychologist and mom I’ve found a way to manage my frustration and not lose my cool every day.
So what’s the first step?
First, we must check our thoughts.
Usually after I lose my temper and yell at my kids, they start crying.
One day as I sat with my crying kid, I became tired of feeling angry. I realized, I need to take control of my thoughts.
When my thoughts spiral out of control that’s when the anger starts bubbling up and inevitably the yelling starts.
But how do I stop myself and actually do this in the heat of the moment?
The first step to changing your thoughts is to recognize what you are thinking.
I want to share with you the cognitive triangle. This is something I learned as a graduate student in psychology and it changed my thought life forever.
Our thoughts, behavior and feelings are all connected. If we want to change how we are feeling (frustrated, overwhelmed) or change our behavior (yelling at kids) we can do this by changing our thoughts.
It sounds simple, I know. But when we take a step back and analyze our thoughts, we may realize many of our thoughts aren’t helpful or rational.
When I start to feel frustrated about all the snack asking or the “I’m bored” talk. I notice my thoughts are negative.
“Why do they ALWAYS bug me? Can’t someone else just take care of this. I just want to be alone. Kids are so annoying.” I’ll be honest, I’ve thought all of these things before.
But they aren’t helpful. When my kids push my buttons and I’m already in a downward thought spiral, the outcome just isn’t going to be good.
So instead, I need to check my thoughts and tell myself “It’s okay if he whines a bit. You can ignore it. This moment will pass.”
Other times I say to myself “This is hard. It’s okay if they are a bit whiney. We will get through this together. What can I do right now to bring some joy back into our house?”
Instead of focusing on the negative, I stop the bad thinking and try to reframe the situation. It may even go as far as writing down 3 things I am thankful for right in the moment to help switch my brain in the other direction.
Step 2: We must identify our triggers.
If we want to stop yelling at our kids, we have to be aware of our own emotions and feelings. Are we at a boiling point? How are we feeling? Are there things we can do to stop ourselves before we get to this boiling point?
FIND YOUR TRIGGERS.
For me it’s feeling tired. When I’m not getting adequate sleep I am much more likely to lose my temper.
Baseline anxiety is another one. When I’m anxious it impacts my entire house. Then I become less patient with my kids.
So what are your triggers?
If sleep is a priority for you, then you need to start making it a priority.
If making dinner without interruption is a trigger, then brainstorm ways to handle this time of day before it happens.
Can I put out a tray of fresh veggies for the kids to snack on? What about planning screen time during dinner prep?
Whatever your triggers are, take a step back and brainstorm solutions.
Do this so you prevent getting to the boiling point and even if you do reach the boiling point you have a concrete plan to help de-escalate.
Ask yourself: How can I improve the situations that tend to stress me our the most?
Whether it’s preventative measures or things you can do in the moment, think about it.
Every now and then it’s good to take a self-analysis and see how you are doing. Don’t let your big feelings reach a boiling point.
Take a few moments before you reach your breaking point to refresh and reset.
Motherhood is hard. We can’t do this alone. If you need “me-time” to refresh try to find ways to add this into your day.
Whether it’s asking your spouse for help, your family or friends for a few hours of babysitting. Do it. Do it for yourself and your family.
It’s okay to ask for help or ask for a break. It doesn’t make you a bad mother. It makes you human.
Step #3: Find Perspective
Another strategy that has helped me time and time again is to find perspective. This is so important when I find myself losing my patience and ready to scream at my kids.
I challenge my thoughts and tell myself this stage won’t last forever.
There will be a time when I can cook dinner without interruption. A time when I sleep the whole night through. Whatever stage you are in, it will won’t be like this all the time.
Also remember you are not alone in this. It’s normal to have moments of confrontation. If you lose your temper, you are not a failure.
Dare I even say it’s okay if your kids see you lose it once and a while. Our kids need to know we are human. Life is hard. Everyone gets frustrated.
It’s how we deal with that frustration. If you have lost it on your children and said things you regret, talk to them about it. Apologize, explain how you felt in the moment.
Sit down with your kids. Have an honest discussion about emotions and apologize if you need to.
Then brainstorm together ways to improve the situation. What could you have done differently. Show your children how to problem solve by working through this together!
Kids have moments of anger and mommy can have them too.
It’s unrealistic to think kids won’t ever push back or annoy you.
It’s a normal part of life. But you can learn the tools you need to remain calm and parent your child joyfully.
Finally, be honest with yourself. Talk to your spouse about it. If you need more professional help, do not be ashamed. Talk to a counselor or doctor about your feelings and get the help you need.
So what about you? Do you lose your patience with kids? How do you deal with your anger? Impatience?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below! You can be more patient with kids!