"Everyone has times when anger gets the best of them," says a Circle of Moms member named Heather. In fact, many Circle of Moms members admit that when they’re in the midst of disciplining their children, they find themselves yelling or spanking.
When you're upset with your child's behavior, it's hard to keep calm and avoid saying or doing something you’ll regret later. But the benefits of keeping your cool are considerable. As Jennifer A. shares, kids get much more out of being disciplined “when you talk to them about why you are doing what you are doing."
To avoid acting out of anger in the heat of the moment, consider these three approaches to getting past it quickly, all offered by Circle of Moms members who are taming their own tempers.
1. Count ’Til You’re Calm
Jennifer A. encourages moms to “Take it one step at a time." The first step, says Carrie, is counting to 10 before responding to your children, and reminding yourself that they don't misbehave to attack you personally, but "to test [you] and see what [you]'ll do."
Another member, Dee Dee, sometimes counts as high as 25 until she is level-headed. “Then afterward I explain and reinforce what the rules are so there is no way they wonder why they got in trouble in the first place.”
2. Redirect Everyone's Focus
Meghan A. notes that when your child acts up he is seeking attention, so if you can, "stop what you are doing, pick your [child] up and go play with him. It redirects both of you.”
She's not the only mom who's had success by changing the moment's focus. Pamela and Megan G. also both like to introduce an entirely new activity to dissipate anger. Megan puts on one of her son's favorite DVDs; Pamela tries to make her kids laugh.
3. Take Your Own Time Out
“All mothers need a little bit of peace and quiet,” so when you’re starting to feel frustrated, just let yourself have a time out,” Ann advises. She puts her daughter in a playpen and goes into a room by herself if she finds herself losing patience with her daughter.
Sherry B. agrees that walking away can help restore the calm. “My daughter tests me every day and I catch myself when I get frustrated with her. I have to leave the room and take some deep breaths." The brief break allows her to remind herself that "it is not her that I am mad at, it is the way she is acting, and I know that she is still learning things and it takes time and patience.”
There are other ways to take breaks. Louise G. and Juliana C. duck out just long enough to sip some tea or drink a glass of cold water. Carries explains that taking the time for this break gives her much-needed "breathing space," and Juliana shares that this little interlude gets her ready to correct her children's behavior calmly. And if all else fails, do what Alicia does: "Scream into a pillow." As she explains, "Having kids is the hardest thing on the face of this planet."
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