Have you ever had a parenting situation where you lost your cool with your kids, and I mean, lost it? And you acted or yelled in a way that the normal sane you never would?
So I’ve been there too, and I’m grateful that I learned this lesson early on in parenting with my first child, and I want to share it with you because more important than what I did was what I learned – and if this can serve one parent out there in reshaping their parenting experience and how they’re going to look back on these years as a parent of kids, then this story has served…
My daughter was around one and a half, and she had some major Turkey moments at that age, and would throw epic temper tantrums.
I don’t remember all of the events leading up to it but I’d had it and I snapped. I remember that moment because it was like this part of me took over that was not my rational loving mind and heart, but it was just rage and it was past programming and I spanked her. That was the first and last time I ever spanked my children because I learned so much from it.
The part of it that really broke my heart was… what did my one and a half year will do after I spanked her? She came to me to comfort her. Here I am, the person who had reacted, who was supposed to be the adult, and she came back to me to hold and comfort her. It absolutely broke my heart, and still to this day a part of my heart breaks remembering it. But I’m going to lean in here because it was such a profound experience and profound shaping of my life and of parenting.
So what happened after that? Well, I realized there was a point of no return in me that I did not know was there before that moment where I could go into a moment of rage and complete anger and take actions, my body just acted in a way I was not consciously thinking about. That’s the best way I can explain it.
Here’s how I applied these four steps to my parenting…
The behavior no longer desired was spanking. I realized I did not want to be a spanker. And so when I did that, and it was a learned behavior, I realized it’s not acceptable to me. That is not how I am going to choose to parent and I have an empowered decision to make.
So along with that behavior, what was the emotions that went along with it? I would honestly say rage, and that’s a very strong emotion, but in that moment all I saw was red. It was just for a moment, but it was there nonetheless. And I had to admit that to myself.
So here’s where the real work and the real transformation comes in. I had to be willing to lean in and to do it for my own parenting experience and that of my children.
So how do I want it to be?
I want, when my daughter exhibits that type of behavior, to respond. I want to be in control of my emotions and my thoughts. To speak calmly.
I envision myself lowering the volume of my voice instead of raising it. And I certainly want to take zero actions toward her.
So then the last question, what do I want my state of mind and my state of being to be?
I really want to be compassionate, understanding, and even feel a little bit of excitement when my child is getting upset and throwing a tantrum. Why excitement? Because even though when they’re in those temper tantrums you kinda want to pull your hair out it’s also a really positive sign of her maturing and taking independence in her world. And that’s a really positive thing.
And so I want to view it from that lens instead of… Frustration or anger or any of those other basement emotions.
Great, so I know where I am coming from, who I want to become now. So what am I actually going to do to get there?
My decision included:
And so, as she’d start a tantrum, as I noticed the familiar emotions raising in me from calm, loving mom to angry mom, I now took a different action.
A really powerful book that was a part of mine and my husband’s parenting experience that changed how we parent is called Love and Logic. I would highly recommend it to any parent of young children. Highly, highly, highly. We started following their technique for responding to a tantrum.
I take away the very thing my daughter wants. Which is usually me.
I go to my bedroom and lock the door. Yes, I lock the door with me inside and her outside my bedroom. And so in that moment she’s not able to have me. Since I am the thing she wants, (and this is all in Love and Logic btw) so that is what I separate her from.
And it worked beautifully. Beautifully for her, for myself, and for allowing my parenting to evolve from where it was into a more mature and enjoyable experience for my children. This forced her to learn different coping mechanisms, and very quickly what she learned was that when she threw a tantrum, she lost access to mommy until she calmed down.
As she escalated, I would say ‘Mom is starting to get upset with your behavior and Mommy needs a time out.’ And then I would just remove myself – and of course she didn’t like it. Very quickly, even though she was little, she learned.I didn’t make a drama… I didn’t yell at her when I was saying this to her, I would just calmly walk up to my room and go lock the door. She learned very quickly she couldn’t get what she wanted when she acted that way, and like magic, her behavior started changing and she was able to start calming herself quicker. It was really cool to watch.
While I do wish it hadn’t been the experience that it was to get me to that place in parenting, I’m so grateful for the lesson I learned and for how it forever shaped the way I parent. I have a lot more compassion and truthfully, that spills over into what I do every day. With every human that I have the pleasure of working with.
So there’s your parenting tip, and what to do when you do lose control or when you find that the behavior you’re exhibiting in any aspect of your life is no longer a standard you’re willing to live with.
And just leads to an even more enjoyable, happy, incredible life experience.
You might be asking yourself why is a Business Coach sharing with me a parenting tip. And that is because I use these four simple steps anywhere I want transformation in my life. The reason this story matters is it was one of the most vulnerable, shameful moments I’d ever had, and I used it to propel myself into a different, better version of parent that I want to be. And I now these steps anywhere I encounter behavior that isn’t serving me well.
So let me know your greatest parenting hacks as well, or what you do when you lose your cool. And I certainly hope that by sharing my experience and my story, I have served you in your journey as well.
Until next time,
PS Ready to put some momentum into your goals? Check out my Momentum Journal – it’s packed full of tips and actionable strategies for you to actually ENJOY achieving your next goal and milestone!
PSS want to feel more authentic as a parent? This article on authenticity will give you some great pointers to changing and realigning your attitude to the authentic parenting YOU want to experience.