Do you ever lose it at your kids? Like, really lose it? I’m sure for most of us, there are definitely times when we are pushed to the brink by our children and before we know it we have given in to our emotions and lost it at the kids.
I used to lose it ALL – THE – TIME!
Before I learned of RIE parenting and made a conscious decision to try to remain peaceful with my children, their antics got the better of me often.
Occasionally, even now, my instinct to yell at the children takes over and out it comes like an avalanche. The difference now though, is what I do in the aftermath.
It is not the end of the world to lose it at your children (although, obviously, it is not ideal). Children on the whole are extremely forgiving. Should you want to maintain a strong and connected relationship with them afterwards, however, it is vital to make a full and heartfelt apology once you and they have had time to cool down.
Yesterday, I picked my children up from care on my way home from a long (and stressful) day of teaching secondary school students. It was late and when we got home. We headed straight into our evening routine of bath, dinner etc.
We went to the bathroom and I asked the girls to please remove their clothes whilst I got the bath ready (scooping out toys and warming the water etc). Miss 4 started whinging at me that she didn’t have her helicopter because she left it at day care. I acknowledged and continued getting the bath ready.
Then, Miss 3 started screaming at me to take off her shirt RIGHT NOW! I was bent over the bath, washing out dirt residue from the previous night’s bath so I told her I would help her in a minute. Meanwhile, Miss 4 demanded that I get her undressed tonight and started whinging that I wasn’t helping her.
They were in a chorus of demands, complaints and whinges. I tried to acknowledge them both. But over the screaming, shouting and wailing, i simply couldn’t be heard. I lost it!
I shouted: “STOP SHOUTING AT ME!” (The irony of this is not lost on me, believe me). Miss 3 immediately stopped and squeaked a small “Okay, Mummy.” Miss 4 started howling hysterically and ran to her room.
I took a breather, immediately remorseful of what I had just done. Miss 3 climbed into the, now ready, bath and I asked if she was okay and told her I was sorry for shouting. I said: “It’s a bit scary when I shout, isn’t it?” “Yes”, came the small reply. I asked if she would like a hug and she hesitantly wrapped her arms around me. We embraced for a bit and then she blurted: “Can I have bubbles, Mum?”
She was over it. Happy to forgive and move on. I poured in the bubbles and went next door to her sister who was sitting on her bed looking at a book.
I sat next to her. She didn’t acknowledge me. I began: “I’m so sorry I shouted”. I paused to let her hear the words and know that I meant them. I continued: “I know you hate it when I shout.” Pause again. “I am still learning not to shout. I need to use my calm voice to let you know what I need, don’t I?”
She looked at me and snapped: “Yes! You scared me.”
Me: I know I did, I’m sorry.
Miss 4: “Well that’s okay, we all make mistakes sometimes. Next time you will do better.”
Me: (As I dragged her into my arms) “You know what, I think I will.”
Whilst I know we always do our best to stay calm with our children and parent them respectfully, there will be times when we slip up. And that’s okay. What is important at this time is knowing what to do afterwards. Making that heartfelt apology is what children truly need to reconnect and find trust in us once more. Furthermore, you will be modelling to your children the value of recognising your mistakes and trying to make amends.
You might also enjoy reading:
Repairing the Relationship After a Parental Meltdown ~ Kate Russell (Peaceful Parents, Confident Kids)
Dear Parent: Caring for Infants With Respect (2nd Edition) ~ Magda Gerber
Elevating Child Care: A Guide to Respectful Parenting ~ Janet Lansbury
No Bad Kids: Toddler Discipline Without Shame ~ Janet Lansbury