It is inevitable- we all blow our tops, flip our lids, go off and down right lose our sh*t with our kids from time to time. If you’re like me an inevitable shit storm of shame usually follows and I am left with the words “BAD MOM!” rolling around in my head. Here’s a few more ideas to help scale back the amount of times we do lose our cool.
“You’re in Time-In!” Time outs are common practice in parenting these days, but I’d like to suggest something that will result in less of a rupture in the connection with your kiddos. Time outs are a tool that takes the child away from the family unit, they often result in children feeling isolated and shameful (Visit week 2 blog for the difference between shame and guilt). We think when we send the child to time out, they are going to “think mindfully about what they have done and decide to make better choices,” but what they are usually thinking is “I hate my parents, they don’t understand me” and whatever they child version of “this is horseshit” would be. “Time in” looks like you separating your child from a situation where they are very upset, but sitting with them in their dysregulation. You might say “I can see you are really upset and I am going to sit with you while you’re sad so that you know you’re not alone” or “Wow that was a really bad choice to hit your brother like that. Why don’t we sit here together so that we can figure out a better way to handle that.” You are still holding boundaries with your kids, but without rupturing the connection with them.
Take a Knee– Getting on their level helps to keep eye contact and provides the same idea as time in’s. It keeps attachment on line, while you might be setting boundaries. Dan Siegal is a neuroscientist that has studies our brain’s extensively and encourages parents and caregivers to ask three questions: “Why did my child make this choice?” “What is the lesson I want to teach here?” And “How do I want to teach this lesson?” If we teach them through tactics of dominance and control, what will that look like as they get older? Will they be likely to make good choices when we are not around? Or will they rebel or become overly submissive and people pleasing? Remembering that discipline means “to teach.”
Repair after rupture: As stated above, sometimes losing our cool is inevitable. If it happens too often, more than you like or is stepping into abusive (like name calling or hitting), than I want to invite you to get some support. We all lose our temper from time to time and when we do, we always want to own that with our children (Week two also has the steps for apologizing when we have made a mistake). When we have a rupture in our connection, we want to explore that with our kids, apologize for that and make a plan for what we are going to do differently in the future. Try to give yourself a break and remind yourself and your kids that “you make bad choices and mistakes too sometimes, good thing we love each other even though we’re not perfect.”
Many more fellow wins my badass caregivers!