For the most part, I love being the father of two beautiful girls. But, with one child that isn’t even 8 yet but acts, at times, like a teenager and another child still in her terrible twos, there are times when raising them can be a challenge.
This includes times when one or both of my kids lose their tempers. This could be caused by them being told to do something they don’t want to do or something as simple as being cranky because they skipped a nap. But, when it happens and the crying and screaming start, it’s pretty easy for someone to lose their mind very quickly. Fortunately, even though I’ve never learned how to keep situations like that from happening, I have now have just enough experience to keep the temper tantrums from becoming too much for me to handle.
One of the first things I try to do is not lose my own temper. This part isn’t easy and there are days when my patience is unfortunately stretched to the point I end up snapping. But, I have learned doing that just makes things worse. After all, if your child is angry and upset, yelling is just going to make them angrier and more upset.
One of the ways I manage to keep my own anger under control is by counting to 10 in my head before talking. It doesn’t always work. But, most of the time, it helps me talk to my child (or children) in a calmer voice.
The second thing I do is try to separate myself from my kids. Again, this isn’t something I can do all the time (especially if we’re at a store). But, when we’re home, I found one of the best ways to diffuse the situation is to have them be in a different room so we can each have some space.
The trick to this is not to treat it as a punishment. In my youngest daughter’s case, for instance, I’ll usually offer her the opportunity to have a drink or snack in her room while we both calm down. I’ve never had an argument from her and there are times when she’ll even end up taking a nap.
The last thing I make sure to do is address the situation once everyone has calmed down. It’s hard to explain things to a crying, screaming child. But, once they have a chance to calm down, it’s worth taking the time to explain why they didn’t get a toy or were supposed to take a nap, etc. It won’t necessarily prevent the situation from happening again. However, it does set some boundaries that help me the next time it does happen.
As I said before, parenting isn’t always easy. But, by being a bit patient with my kids, I haven’t felt the need to rip my hair out just because they are having a bad day.