Staying Zen With Kids Who Are Acting Out


So, here’s the thing about parenting—sometimes it’s just really hard. And if you couldn’t tell by my post about needing to meditate, I’m not the greatest at dealing with stress and anxiety. I assume I’m not alone in this feeling. Or at least I hope I’m not. Some days, the aggravation kicks in, and I’m in lower Earth orbit before I can send them to their rooms. But I’m working on it. These are a few tips I’m finding helpful in my quest to remain zen.

Take a Time Out
Parental timeouts are totally under-rated. I try to incorporate “me time” whenever I can, but taking a timeout is something that actually happens in the moment. It can be hard to handle an emotional situation well if you’re angry and triggered, and trying to calm down is the best thing you can do. Breathe deeply, unclench your jaw, and let the situation diffuse for a few minutes. I’ve heard that even splashing water on your face can help because it disrupts your thinking to break out of the emotional cycle.

Release the Anger
When tensions get high, remind yourself that it’s not an emergency (unless it is, of course, but that’s a different situation). One of my favorite strategies for diffusing negative energy is to totally distract myself with cat videos or something on Ellen Tube. It’s good strategy to move to release the tension, so sometime I’ll put on Katy Perry or Cyndie Lauper and have a dance party. Anything that makes me relax is a good plan. Also, never underestimate the therapeutic value in screaming into a pillow.

Hit Pause on Discipline
I’ve noticed that when I’m really fired up, I do a terrible job with discipline. I tend to pick consequences that don’t really fit the crime or I threaten a punishment that I’ll never be able to follow through with. Neither of these is a winning strategy. As a result, I try to wait until I’m calmer to lay down the law and choose the consequences that are appropriate and enforceable.

Learn from the Experience
Once you’ve calmed down, try to understand what triggered you. Anger is often a cover for other feelings, so understanding them will probably help you in the long run.

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