There are times when, as a parent, something inside you snaps and your kid has to face the brunt of it. For instance, you come home after a really hard day at work only to find your kids playing loud music on the television. Tired and fatigued as you are, you instinctively yell at them, more that you should have. Does that sound familiar?
If you feel bad for what you did, that’s understandable. You want to make amends, but how will go about it? Well, here are a few ways that you could consider using after you have yelled at your child.
Take a deep breath and step back
It’s important to consider what happens inside you when you’re angry. When you are angry, your body gets into a survival mode. This means that your heart rate increases, your breathing becomes shallow and your muscles tense, and thinking becomes vague. Therefore, this is not the time to either say or do anything, and not till you’ve taken a few deep breaths.
So whenever you get angry, pause, take a deep breath and then respond. Acknowledge that you have been rude and hurtful to your kids.
Apologize for what you said and how you said it
If you feel sorry for the way you behaved with your kids, it’s ok to apologize. It would certainly rebuild bridges with them. Besides, this teaches them that you are responsible for your behaviour and are humble enough to say that five-letter word, ‘Sorry.’
Don’t play the blame game
Who started the argument should be the least of the considerations. You need to learn and to teach your kids to take complete responsibility for their words and actions without blaming you. You can do this by saying, “Oh, I’m really sorry, I shouldn’t have let my anger get the better of me.” Don’t ever say, “You should have…” or something similar which points a finger at your kids. Accept your responsibility in the situation and move on.
Hug them and hold them and say, “I love you”
Once you’ve finished yelling at them, no matter how justified, stop for a minute. Recover from the way you behaved and reach out to them. Hug and hold them and replace your harshness with a gentle and soft “I love you.”
As they grow older, replace this behaviour by treating them as young adults. Speak to them in a way that they feel that you accept and support them, irrespective of what they say or believe. This unconditional support for your child makes them grow into more positive and confident adults with loads of self-esteem.
Look out for a second trigger
Your apology notwithstanding, your kids may bear you a grudge and not be willing to give up the quarrel. You might find it easy to yell if the problem recurs, but do stop there. Remind yourself that you are responsible only for your actions and that you need to exercise self-control. Watch out for that second trigger. Do not fall into the trap and stay calm.
Some other things you could do in the long run include:
Start listening to each other
If you continue to yell at each other whenever some small disagreement crops up, you’re never going to solve the problem. So try to get to the bottom of the issue and understand why it’s happening at all.
This can happen if you start listening to your children when they speak and they do the same with you. Once you know why it’s happening, you can find a creative solution for it that pleases both sides.
Mend your relations with your kids
If, in the course of your anger, you made some harsh statements or gave them painful punishments, it’s easy to see that your children remain aloof from you. It’s also quite natural. Don’t think of the situation for some time, and instead try to focus on ways to repair your relations with your kids.
Think about “What could the trigger be?”
Think about this, instead of dismissing it as just one of those incidents that growing years are all about. See if you can form a pattern of this behaviour from past yelling matches and see what’s bothering your kids, or you?
If there’s a pattern, work on it
Do you see any pattern of this behaviour from past yelling matches and see what’s bothering your kids, or you? Do some kind of problems bother you more than others? You need to introspect and work out a plan accordingly. For example, if your quick-temper is the root of the problem, then address it. You may want to talk to someone or even reach out to a therapist if the problem persists. Address this problem so that this does not become a bottle neck in your relationship with your kids.
Remember, to admit that you’re bad-tempered doesn’t automatically mean you are not a good parent. It means that you recognize a problem and have the courage to change the situation. And, that’s because you care for your kids.
Spend time together
After you have apologised, you may want to think about spending some quality time with your kids. You could play a game together, go to the movies or even go for errands together. There’s a special bond in these activities, so go out and make the most of them.
Doing your best to rebuild your bridges with your child should be of paramount importance to parents. If you don’t make your attempts, the message you send out to your children is, “I don’t care what you think. I’ve had my say.”
Fortunately, we don’t live in an ideal world where there aren’t any disagreements. We live in a real world where ideas and needs clash and angry words arise. If you want to be a great parent, you need to keep taking a reality check on how you’re getting along with your kids and mould yourself according to their age, needs and desires. That’s the way forward for all positive-thinking parents, like you.
Good luck and happy parenting!