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Being a calm mom: 3 ways to keep your cool when your kids are losing theirs

Raising four sons, I have experienced epic tantrum meltdowns, bad attitudes on the way to school, anger outburst before church, and tirades about the food they don’t eat.

Sometimes the out of control outburst of my fellas only led to my own.

I’ve reacted when they were little. I was a sleep-deprived momma with three little ones under five struggling with boys who didn’t want to be potty trained, who screamed because they didn’t want to get out the car, or who wouldn’t go to bed because daddy wasn’t home to read a bedtime story.

I’ve reacted when they bigger. I was the momma with fellas who waited until the last minute to do a project, left dirty clothes on the floor right in front of their hamper, or had the nerve to complain about cleaning a mess they made.

If we don’t have strategies in place to help us keep our cool when our kids lose theirs, we end up modeling the very behavior we don’t want our children to do. You know, those moments we yell, fuss, nag, and are just not nice.

Don’t worry. We can turn those heated moments with our kids around. Here are three strategies to help you keep your cool when your kids are losing theirs.


Don’t take it personally

When our children are losing their cool, we must remember not to take it personally. Sometimes our children can hurl insults, throw our mistakes in our faces, be mean, and even try to humiliate others. Sometimes our children are not intentionally giving us a hard time; they are going through a hard time. They are tired, hungry, frustrated, anxious, or just a teenager struggling with walking through hormones.

Choosing to take the actions of our children personally removes the responsibility our children must face for their actions. Reacting to their anger, hurt words, or insults only adds fuel to the fire. Do not engage. Instead, calmly identify how to separate the behavior from the child.

Losing our cool with our children only creates separation, damages the relationship, and can make your child feel shame. Not taking their actions personally helps us to show restraint.

Ponder points:

  • When my child acts out, how can I show restraint?
  • What are the ways I can redirect my child’s behavior without owning their negative actions?

Know your triggers

As parents, we are mature enough to remember we are the adults. We are capable of exercising self-control in challenging moments. I realized if I want to raise children who can responsibly manage their emotions, then I must both model respectful behavior while also teaching them self-control in a way which honors God.

To model and teach my children, I must know and understand my triggers. On days I lack sleep, haven’t been able to eat properly, or even near my menstrual cycle, I am more likely to react instead of respond. My behavior is not the responsibility of my children; it is mine.

Knowing my triggers helps me pause before I speak and act. Learning your triggers helps you to step out of your emotions.

Ponder points:

  • What are your triggers?
  • When are you more likely to lose your control with your children?
  • How can you exercise self-control in the moment?

Identify the why

When our children are losing their cool, stop to identify the why behind their negative behavior.

Is your child upset because daddy is at work? Is your child having a tantrum because she is sleepy? Maybe your child needs a snack?

Understanding the root of our children’s behavior helps us to know the best way to respond (not react) to their actions. Usually, when children act out in negative ways, they are communicating an unmet need. If you can maintain your calm, find ways to meet the need.

This starts by putting yourself in the shoes of your children. Think back to what it was like being new to a school or dealing with those dreaded pre-teen hormones. Remember what it was like being told what to do, where to be, and how to act. Everything can feel out of control for your kid. Identifying why helps us to remain calm, show compassion, and extend a helping hand.

  • Ponder points:
    • How can I respond in love to my child’s worst moments?
      What is the root cause of my child’s behavior?


    Now, keeping your cool doesn’t just happen. We must practice regularly. Over time you find it easier not to take things personally, know your triggers, and identify the why when your children act out. To be a more peaceful momma who can model self-control, you must be committed to doing the work. When our children do the most unlovable behaviors, they need us to love them the most.

    Also, don’t be afraid to apologize. As you are learning to keep your cool, be sure to apologize when you are in the wrong. Apologizing to your children is another example of how we can reconcile when we make mistakes. You can turn it all into growing points for everyone.

    You got this momma,

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    26 comments on “Being a calm mom: 3 ways to keep your cool when your kids are losing theirs

    1. Wendy M Diestler

      Great ideas for keeping your cool! I am guilty of not always acting nicely especially in this heat and humidity. Thanks for sharing!

    2. Great post, it’s so hard to not take it personally and it’s something I work on daily. It’s easy for me to tell other people that but when it comes to your own kids it’s hard!

    3. eander72410

      I love the points you bring up. We need to model the behavior we want them to have, no matter how difficult it is. Thank you for the tip of deciding BEFOREHAND how you will respond when your child does “X” because that will help prevent you from acting out of anger or frustration. Great article!

    4. I sooo needed this today, thank you! Mom of 2 boys here! I try to count to 10 and take deep breaths when I feel like I am losing it. It does not work all the time, though.

    5. I need to show this to my hubby, he has a hard time staying patient sometimes!!

    6. I have definitely been that mama who reacted poorly. Raising two boys and a girl who has big emotions can be trying. Thank you for the reminders!

      • Mamie L. Pack

        Oh, raising children who experience big emotions can be challenging. When they feel big is when we need to keep our cool the most. But some days that is HARD.

    7. Great post! Love the tips. I have three daughters, and definitely get stretched thin and lose my patience. Thaks for the encouragement.

    8. Mallie Miller

      Such a helpful post! It’s so easy jump with the chaos and can be really challenging to take a breath and calm when you’re busy. Thank for sharing these tips.

    9. This post is wonderful. I think a lot of moms really do struggle with keeping calm when their kids are acting up. You gave some practical and realistic advice.

    10. This is such a helpful post! I definitely can relate! Raising three 6 and under can be exhausting and trying at times.

    11. It is really hard to be patient sometimes. These are good tips. I feel like I am overworked and overstressed, and it doesn’t help when the kids test my patience.

    12. These are truly great tips because sometimes it’s just hard not to have a meltdown when the kids are having one.

      Angel | Mommy-ing Differently

    13. Yeah, I can use this advice right now. The kids are driving me NUTS while on summer break… and we’re only about halfway through break! ARGH!

    14. Mamie you are preaching to me! I am in space in life where I am learning to stay calm and not let things get to me so quickly. Thanks for the tips.

      xoxo
      Lani

      • Mamie L. Pack

        Lani sometimes it is hard. We have expectations and we know what we are teaching our kids. It can push your buttons for sure.

    15. These are very great tips. I’ve found that I can be impatient and lose it very quickly. These tips will definitely help me keep calm!

      • Mamie L. Pack

        You are not alone! That’s why we need to help eachother on this mom journey.

    16. Yes! Especially finding the ‘why.’ Toddlers don’t act out for no reason – they may be tired, frustrated, confused, etc. The quicker you id the reason, the better equipped you are to handle it!

      • Mamie L. Pack

        Absolutely Lisa!!! It takes effort on our part for sure.

    17. Good points on the what triggers you. I have to pay attention to that way more! My son can drive me insane at times. And I really should learn to let go of the little things.

    18. Laura-kim le Roux

      The struggle is real, right! Gosh this is such a challenge. I have figured out if I walk away for a few minutes it helps us all.

    19. These are all really good points. I need to take this advice. My children can drive me crazy sometimes.

    20. I am a mama pf 4 boys also! Great tips, I found some of these in a peaceful parenting book as well.

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