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  • Mom Shares The One Question She Asks Herself To Avoid Yelling At Her Child

    Do this when you start to feel frustrated at your child's misbehavior.
    by Kitty Elicay .
Mom Shares The One Question She Asks Herself To Avoid Yelling At Her Child
PHOTO BY Shutterstock/MIA Studio
  • No parent wants to shout at their child, and yet it is still inevitable for a number of reasons. For one, raising kids can be exhausting, especially when you have to deal with whining, demanding children alongside all the other responsibilities you have as a parent.

    When you lose your temper and start yelling, the guilt immediately follows. But how do you stop yourself from feeling like a bad parent? One mom offers a simple but effective solution: Ask yourself, “Am I trying to be right, to control, or to connect?”

    This is a question that mom Ashley Patek learned from one of her mentors, Kahtryn Kvols, the creator of Redirecting Children’s Behavior. Ashley is an occupational therapist, parent educator, and certified holistic lifestyle coach who blogs at Generation Mindful.

    On her website, the mom of three explains that whenever she starts to feel frustrated, annoyed, or “about to flip my lid,” asking herself this question grounds her. It certainly helped when she was caught in a dilemma trying to pacify an agitated husband and tantum-throwing son.

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    “While my husband was busy laying on the logic to our three-year-old, I could feel my impulse to control the situation — I wanted to take over and mediate,” Ashley writes in one of her blog posts.

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    The moment she felt like yelling, the mom stopped herself by asking the question, “Am I trying to be right, to control, or to connect?”

    “The thing is, if I’m trying to be right, then that means someone else is wrong, and since parenting (marriage, any relationship) is relational, if someone is right and someone is wrong, then no one really wins,” she writes.

    Thinking you are right about a certain situation can be one-sided. “I have realized that we often see the world or a situation as we are, not as it really is, so instead of making someone right and someone wrong, I can pause, communicate clearly, and let others be heard with compassion,” Ashley says.

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    On the other hand, if she tries to control the situation, it might lead to a power struggle. It might activate a strong defense mechanism since nobody really likes being told what to do.

    Ashley mused, “The only thing I truly have control of is my thoughts, words, and actions. How can I empower myself, my husband, and my son in this moment?”

    Her answer was connection. It allowed her to validate what her husband and son were feeling, thus becoming more compassionate toward her husband’s frustration and “curious” about her son’s behavior.

    After assessing the situation, Ashley realized that while it appeared as if their son was giving them a hard time, as a toddler it was the other way around. He was having a hard time dealing with his emotions and he had an unmet need that his parents failed to acknowledge.

    Ashley wrote, “I got low — below my son’s eye level — to communicate to him that he was safe, and I drew him close. He cried in my arms until his sobs turned to sniffles. Then, I said, ‘You seem upset. You really wanted to lock daddy outside.’”

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    After Ashley listened to her son’s explanation and acknowledged his feelings, he began to calm down. Her husband also started to understand where the tantrums where coming from and held their son in apology. The connection had been established.

    “As parents, we may not agree with the behavior we are seeing, but we can always validate the emotion behind it. And when we lead with connection, this empathetic movement is possible,” Ashley reminds.

    Yelling at our kids doesn’t just make us feel bad — it also has a lasting impact on our kids, which can affect their personality and well-being. Remember that a child is not testing your patience on purpose. Most of the time, they are dealing with big emotions that they cannot handle at their age yet. As parents, it is our responsibility to help them navigate those feelings.

    Treat your children with compassion, respect, and try to put yourself in their “little shoes.” This will allow you to be more open, more patient, and more loving. 

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    How do you discipline without the guilt? Click here for the ways.

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