Kate Kirk at Counting to Ten blog reflects on her self-confessed biggest shortcoming when it comes to parenting. As the end of the year approaches, she reveals the strategies she’ll be using to to control her temper and resist being a shouty mum in 2020.
In my last post I shared some things we thought we would never do as parents, but my worst regret? Being a shouty mum. As a new year is a time for fresh starts I have decided the best thing I could do for my family in 2020 is to shout less.
I used to be ok with being a shouty mum, shouting was my way of letting off steam when I was angry. I would shout, the anger would get out of my system and I would be calm again. My eldest never seemed to pay much attention to my shouting anyway. I started to feel differently when my second daughter became a toddler, Little gets really upset when I raise my voice and it makes me feel awful.
I have always been a little fiery, but the emotional and physical exhaustion that comes with motherhood has left me constantly short tempered. Add in children who intentionally try and wind me up at times and I don’t have the power not to shout. Or so I thought.
At parenting classes they suggest just walking away when you are annoyed (assuming it is safe to do so), but that doesn’t always work. My eldest used to cling to me so I couldn’t leave. I remember times when I had to run away and lock myself in the bathroom to give myself space to calm down.
Why it’s time to control my temper
What has really changed things for me is seeing my behaviour reflected back in my children. When I see them shout at each other for little things instead of trying to work it out calmly I hear them using my words, my voice. How can I tell them to be patient when I’m not?
It’s not easy to change my behaviour. I often open my mouth and shout before I realise what I am doing, but I am making progress. I’m practicing other ways to tell them off, I am trying to avoid situations where I might shout and I am challenging the assumptions that make me get stressed. I hate to be late so I end up shouting at my children to hurry up repeatedly, but really how often does it matter when we are actually late? We can choose between potentially being a few minutes late for school versus everyone starting the day with a cloud over our heads because I’ve lost my temper again, what is the better option? By challenging my beliefs which cause me to get angry and building new beliefs I am removing a lot of the situations which make me stressed and lead to shouting.
I am also vocalising my feelings more, for example by saying: “that behaviour is making me angry so I’m going to go away now”. It’s interesting to hear my 3 year old now say similar things which mean I can change what is happening to stop her losing her temper. Being able to vocalise the feeling helps to diffuse it.
It will be hard work, but I know I will be less shouty in 2020. I’m hoping this will make my home life happier, but more importantly it will help teach my children important skills for when life gets difficult.
Do you have any tips for calming down when you are feeling angry?
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