Expert Parenting Advice
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A parenting confession

How to keep calm in the moment, instead of freaking out when your kids do something that upsets you.

I aim to be a calm parent.

I want to think before I act. Stay in control of my emotions. Not yell at my kids.

Sometimes I achieve that goal. Other times I don't.

Tonight, when I saw my son paint on our living room carpet, was one of the times I didn't.

Instead of taking a breath and calming down, I yelled.

"What are you doing! You've got paint all over the carpet! You know you need to paint at your table! That's it, I'm taking away your paint!"

But yelling at him did not make me feel better. It did not make him feel better. And it did not improve the situation.

Because the thing is, yelling never improves the situation. Losing your cool does not make things better. It only leads to more bad feelings, regret, and escalation of the situation.

So why do we do it?

When I interviewed Dr. Beth Trammell, a licensed psychologist, parenting author and speaker, I asked her how parents can keep calm in the moment, instead of freaking out when our kids do something that upset us.

Dr. Trammell answered this by sharing two important things that you need to understand in order to stay in control of your emotions.

She also shared a simple sentence that you can memorize, and use when your kid does something that makes you want to yell.

After tonight's carpet painting event, I am planning to print out a few copies of that sentence and put it up around my house. I'm also going to take her advice and work on the two steps that she shared to proactively become more in control of my emotions.