I walked out of my bedroom recently to find the above debacle. Kids got into the pantry, again. I can't catch a break with messes. What parent can?
My initial reaction was to yell, "oh no, oh no, you've got to be kidding me!" As I raised my voice, the kids proceeded to frantically shove pretzel after pretzel into their mouths. I felt my blood about to boil over when I opted to reach for my camera phone and video record this craziness.
I'm one of those moms that documents everything. And I've come to realize it is now a technique used to cool me down. Otherwise, I just might engage in useless screaming fits, or worse, act out in anger and show my kids a very ugly temper. I want my children to learn that they can control their emotions, so I must first control mine.
Here are a few other useful techniques to cool your temperament down:
1. Breathe Deeply. Seems obvious but most parents don't take the few seconds to breathe before reacting in anger.
2. Count to Ten
3. Ask yourself: "what would love do?" This is a great one that allows you to express your reactionary points with kindness (though still being firm).
4. Laugh. This ones tough because it might lead kids to believe you're okay with whatever mischief they've gotten into, but if you really feel overwhelmed and you may reach out in anger, crazy laughter isn't a bad alternative.
5. Walk Away (if children remain safe) and gather your thoughts before you even speak. My co-editor said she walks away and let's her hubby deal with it! That's a good one! I've been known to sneak off, but my hubby is usually the carefree one so if I'm not cautious he might just roll around in the mess with them!
Honestly, I realize firsthand the above reactions can be challenging, but just imagine how guilt-free you'll feel if you were intentional in your responses to parental frustration. Today, my toddlers might be caught coloring on walls or mid-macaroni-and-cheese-food-fight (true story!) and I exercise keeping my cool. Because tomorrow this approach may come in handy when reacting to more serious teenage issues. In fact, my teenage children might actually freely share personal issues if they know mom will not react like a raging lunatic! Mom can handle her emotions like they've learned to handle theirs. And that scenario is a parent's dream come true.
How do you calm yourself when reacting to frustrations, parental or otherwise?