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  • The First and Simple Step to Avoid Yelling When the Kids Drive You Nuts

    This simple habit can help you become a calm and mindful parent.
    by Kate Borbon .
The First and Simple Step to Avoid Yelling When the Kids Drive You Nuts
PHOTO BY iStock
  • Have you ever had those days when all you want to do is to get cracking on the cooking and cleaning, but then you hear your children fighting uncontrollably in the next room? Or maybe you’re simply trying to spend some quiet time by yourself, but your kids just won’t let you have a moment’s peace?

    When these instances inevitably occur, it can be easy to let yourself get overwhelmed by your frustration and exhaustion. After all, parents are only human, prone to losing their temper as the rest of us. But the thing about losing your temper in front of your kids is it can have potentially bad consequences, especially if you happen to say something that is condescending or humiliating.

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    What happens when you lose your temper in front of your kids

    There are several other reasons why losing your cool in front of your kids is a bad idea. First, yelling is actually ineffective. Experts say that while your child may appear to listen, he may be internally shutting down (plenty of research has shown that while yelling doesn’t necessarily damage your child’s brain, it does trigger his fight-or-flight mode). 

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    So the possibility of your child actually learning from his mistakes becomes lower. Second, when you yell angrily at your kids, you frighten them. You may not always notice it, but the twisted and genuinely terrified expressions on your kids’ faces say a lot about how they really feel. Finally, constantly getting angry in front of your children and yelling at them will inevitably lead to that cycle becoming normalized. So don’t be surprised if, one day, you find that your child doesn’t seem to react anymore when you scold them or if they yell angrily back at you.

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    How do you avoid yelling at your child?

    Again, it’s only natural for parents to get frustrated at times, especially when life becomes too hectic and overwhelming. Stop beating yourself up over it. Instead, take up simple habits that can help you avoid exploding in front of your kids. One helpful practice you can do: just pause.

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    You may be thinking, “How can you expect me to pause when I’m feeling so angry?” Research has suggested that pausing is something important to do in everyday life because it brings many benefits. One advantage of learning how to pause is it allows you to think carefully about how you’re going to react to a certain situation. Pausing also gives you a chance to listen to what others have to say, to truly empathize with the situation, and to reason more wisely.

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    How to take a pause as a mom

    When you start to feel stress overtaking you, that means it’s time to take a break. Here are some steps you can do to help you pause.

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    • Whatever you’re doing, drop it for a moment. If you need to go somewhere you can be alone, do it.
    • Take deep breaths. If counting up to 10 is helpful for you, you can do that too.
    • Say a simple mantra. Studies have shown that mantras — even simple ones like “Breathe in, breathe out,” “Choose kindness,” or a basic sound like Om — have the ability to calm down your mind significantly.

    With the help of the simple habit of pausing, you’ll be able to handle your temper in a way that is not only beneficial for you, but even more so for your kids.

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