By Angela Dube, LMFT
We have all been there: the moment we have gotten so frustrated and said and did things to our children, spouses, or other family members that we later regret. The moments where we just want our kids to do what we want, when we want, and how we want and cannot handle it when they do not follow through. It is hard to be a parent, especially while juggling our outside responsibilities. So how do we manage our frustration, be kind to those we love, and balance our other responsibilities?
First, it is always helpful to take a good look at our expectations. Are we being reasonable? Are we wanting things a certain way because we feel stressed and overwhelmed? Can our children actually accomplish what we are expecting of them? Are our expectations too big for them? Are our expectations in line with our parenting values, or is it just easier in the moment?
There will always be those moments when we feel frustrated. How can we stay calm? I often recommend to parents that they stop and take a breath. Having that pause can really help with letting the intensity of our frustration go before acting. Once we take a breath, we can respond much more calmly and intentionally. Also, when was the last time you did something just for you? Taking good care of ourselves can make a huge difference in how we manage the challenging times.
Finally, it is inevitable that we will become frustrated, even say or do things we regret. What is really important is that we repair these relationships and apologize for our mistakes. Our mistakes as parents are some of the best learning opportunities we can provide for our children. Acknowledge that we made a mistake, apologize, and brainstorm together on how to make things better the next time. This can teach your children a tremendous amount of empathy. From your modeling they will also learn the importance of apologizing for their mistakes.