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Parenting: What Does Knowing Myself Have to Do With It?

When you take on the enormous responsibility of having a child, your buttons are going to be pushed.  You are going to get upset with your kids from time-to-time.  This is OK, even desirable perhaps.  Just because frustration and anger with your kids is unavoidable doesn’t mean it’s healthy to vent on them.  Anger is a tricky emotion; and also an informative one.  Anger is a very powerful warning sign that something needs to change in your relationship.  Before you can expect your child to manage his/her emotions effectively, you must be sure you can handle your own.

Maintaining Your Emotional Calm

Anger control is not automatic.  Understanding the factors that contribute to angry episodes lessens the likelihood outbursts will occur.

Step One:  Know Thyself

The first step in gaining control over anger is understanding what makes you more vulnerable to anger.  For many of us, hunger and lack of sleep are two variables that lead to irritability.  As parents, we are used to reading our child’s behavioral signals that indicate lack of sleep and hunger, but we frequently forget that we parents are human too.  We need to take care of ourselves before we can take care of others.

Reminder:   Make sure you are well fed and well rested when interacting with your child.

Step Two:  Minimize Stress

You have heard the expression “Stress at works leads to kicking the dog at home.”  There is truth to this.  It is absolutely imperative that you are aware of your own stress level.  When you are under stress at work or at home, watch out for the danger signs of overreacting to common frustrations with your child.  Like dogs, children can be easy targets during these times.

Reminder:   Do what it takes to lower your own stress level!

Step Three:  Let Your Child Know When You Are Stressed

Don’t hesitate to let your child know how you are feeling.


“Hey, I am in a REALLY bad mood today.”  “I need you to know I didn’t sleep well last night.  I’ll need you to be quieter today than usual.”

Children intuitively understand when they need to handle you with kid gloves.

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