Every seasoned parent can relate to the fact that kids push buttons; buttons we didn't even know we have. How we deal with those buttons being pushed says a lot about us and our different parenting styles. Carla Naumburg, a clinical social worker and author of several parenting books, recently published How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t With Your Kids to help parents figure out why those buttons are there and how to deal with them other than the obvious: yelling.
In an interview with HuffPost, Naumburg discusses some of the main points of her book. Acknowledging that every parent gets angry and loses it with their kids every now and then, Naumburg reminds parents that “it's important for kids to learn that you can get angry with someone and that you can express that anger, and you can still have a healthy loving relationship. But if you're losing it more often than you're comfortable with, that's when you want to pay attention.”
Naumburg goes on to explain that we all have certain triggers (such as toys everywhere, noise, sticky hands touching the furniture, etc.). In saying that, however, they don't necessarily have to be associated with our kids. We could already be triggered by financial stress, relationship issues, etc. before our kids even hit that button. If we're able to determine what these triggers are, we're more likely to be able to control them (resulting in less screaming outbursts).
The next step after determining what your triggers are when you're in the moment dealing with them is to “do literally anything else.” If that means walking away for a minute, walk away. If it means going to your bedroom and screaming in your pillow, scream away. The most important thing to remember is to redirect the frustration away from your children and then come back to deal with the situation after you've calmed down.
Despite your best efforts, there will be times you still lose it. Why? Because you're human. As parents, we need to give ourselves some slack and realize that we will screw up sometimes no matter how hard we try.
Naumburg outlines that the important thing to do is, when you screw up, make sure your child knows you know you screwed up. Modeling proper behaviour by apologizing to your child when you yell at them will not justify the actions that led to the yelling. It will teach them that yelling isn't a way to speak to someone and that we apologize when we lose our cool.