By Kat Hobza, Humor Writer
...Specializing in Sarcasm and Sass
How to keep your cool when your kids act out
By Kat Hobza
(Published by www.sheknows.com, February 2011)
Parenting 101 classes, if there were such a thing, would spend an entire week instructing parents on how to not freak out when kids misbehave. If you are a parent or are thinking of becoming one, here’s what you need to know. Your kids will act out. They will embarrass you. And they will likely do it at the most inopportune time. You can’t control this fact. All you can control is your reaction. Here are a few tools to help you cope.
Deflect. This is kind of a fun one, and appropriate for those times when little Suzy drops an expletive in line at the grocery store. This coping mechanism is achieved by saying, “That is the last time I bring the neighbor kid to the store!”
Practice your Lamaze breathing. So you thought Lamaze training was just to help you get through labor, the most painful experience of your life? No. What medical professionals will not tell you is that Lamaze breathing helps you get through the most painful experience of your life, which is child-rearing, not childbirth. You asked little Michael to move his milk glass so he doesn’t spill his milk, and he looks you square in the eye and knocks his milk over on purpose. Just as in childbirth, your knee jerk reaction is to scream at the top of your lungs and strangle the person closest to you. Find a focal point immediately (other than your child), and take deep cleansing breaths in and out. Tune everything else out, like that annoying smirk on little Michael’s face. Try not to notice how the cat is licking the milk up off the floor. Just breathe. That’s right. When you feel a little less homicidal, send Michael to his room for a time out and hum a happy little tune while you mop up the mess. Take comfort in the fact that little Michael will someday have a child just like him.
Put yourself in timeout. Save this for when Lamaze breathing doesn’t work. Remove yourself from the situation. Find a safe room where there aren’t any sharp implements, and close the door. Slump behind the door if it makes you feel better. Grab a pillow and scream profanities into it. Or, if you prefer, throw a pillow across the room as hard as you can. Crank some music- whatever will help you find your happy place the soonest. Dab cold water on your face. Bust out a couple yoga moves. Try a relaxation exercise that puts you on a beach. Hear the surf. Feel the sand between your toes and the sun on your skin. Smell the ocean. You get the idea. Take a couple minutes to regroup. Don’t feel bad if you have to do this several times a day.
Call your mom. Or your grandma. Or a friend. Get out of earshot of the offending child, so she doesn’t hear your unflattering description of her behavior. A trusted and experienced parent will talk you through it, reminding you that this too shall pass, and that your time to annoy and embarrass your child is coming. Have patience.
Keeping your cool when your kids have a tantrum or misbehave in some other way is all about finding creative ways to remove them or yourself from the situation until everyone calms down a bit. Sometimes this means locking yourself in the bathroom for a minute, sometimes this means dropping your little one at Grandmas and flying to the Virgin Islands for a week. Pick what works for you.