I find myself often moody and overly frustrated with my child very often. Do you have any recommendations to help that situation?
I empathize. Parenting is no easy task. It requires a lot of patience that, after a long day, may not be readily available. That's all right; we don't live in a perfect world! Our kids will test our patience everyday and it's normal to be frustrated or moody. The one thing to remember is to keep calm and carry on-even when you want to scream. Keeping calm is important because our children are sponges and your actions and reactions are setting the stage for how they will react in the future. When you start feeling frustration and moodiness bubble up, stop and think, "I could either get mad and scream, (which will make the situation worse) or I can use take a deep breath and use this moment to set a good example for my child."
Here are a few recommendations to help you keep calm and carry on:
1. Wake up 15-30 minutes early and meditate. This will help you relax and ease into the day. If at any point during the day you feel frustration building, excuse yourself for five minutes and go breathe.
2. Work out instead of stress out. Working out has proven to be an excellent stress reliever. Take a kick boxing class or dance your frustration away in Zumba. Even jumping jacks and push-ups in front of the TV will help.
3. Take a bath, have a glass of wine or hot tea, or read. Put a note on the door reading, "Mommy time! Come back in 15 minutes."
4. Make a code word. Allow your child to pick a funny word that will be put into play if a fight or frustration takes over. Once this word is said, each person must step away, take a breather and walk away for at least 10 minutes to diffuse the situation. Funny words work best because they can lighten the mood. It would be hard not to smile a little if you're raising your voice with your seven-year-old and she calls out, "Hippopotamus!"
Remember parents, frustration will happen, but it's how you handle stress and frustration that will define you and the example you set for your child. For more tips and information on Active Parenting programs, join our mailing list below.
Pioneer educator Dr. Michael Popkin is the founder of Active Parenting Publishers and is the author of many award winning video-based parenting education programs. An expert in his field, Dr. Popkin earned a doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Georgia State University and has served as Director of Child and Family Services at an Atlanta hospital.