As I explained to my children, for the fourth time, that I wanted them to clean up one area in the play room, I heard the volume increase. With each request, I grew louder and my children grew less cooperative. I finally heard myself say, “Is anyone listening to me? Do you think I am talking just to hear my own voice?”
My husband picked that moment to walk into the house. With shame and embarrassment, I realized that my attitude was totally unnecessary. Would I have felt the same way if there were no adult witnesses? Yes. My precious children do not deserve or need a mommy who yells at them.
So what’s the solution? What tips can I give to help myself calm down and to help my children learn to control their temper, anger and words?
1. My daughter enjoys a song that instructs her to Count to Ten when she feels angry. That works…if I catch myself before I say something I regret.
2. Relax. In most cases, I feel anger and frustration when I place unnecessary expectations in my children. By relaxing my standards and letting them be kids, we enjoy each other more.
3. Peace and joy flourish when I have fun. Have you noticed how even boring or frustrating tasks get easier when a friend helps you? The same can be said of school work or clean up chores. As we turn challenging tasks into a game, everyone wins.
4. Rushing to get just one more lesson done or pushing my children to learn a new topic often leads to frustration. When tensions rise, I can slow down, step back and re-evaluate our next step. A simple break or a tickle fest often lightens the mood and energizes us to persevere.
5. Whisper. By making a conscious effort to speak in a quiet voice, I calm down and give my children a reason to listen closely and follow my lead.
What tricks work to help you hold your tongue? How do you respond after you say something you regret? How do you encourage your children to speak with kindness? Share your ideas as we journey toward less roaring and more enjoying.