When that feeling is just too strong, it’s time to step back and self-reflect about what’s happening inside of us. We need to recognize how difficult parenting can be and recognize it’s a very emotional not intellectual job regardless of all the knowledge we have about child development and child-parent relationships.
Three Tips to Regain Your Perspective
1. Resist allowing your whole day to be defined by moments when things seem to fall apart. Instead take the incident as a time to learn about your child. That’s not being a failure at all.
Some days one of your children is having a rough time. He’s screaming and yelling and even says he hates you. This isn’t something you tell your friends about because it hurts so much and you wonder what could you have done to hear such pain come from your child? You may resent it in the moment, but don’t let it carry through the day.
Instead, take his shouting as a signal to a communication that he’s having trouble articulating that got summed up in that prickly word, hate. Those aren’t all his thoughts. It’s just his emotions overflowing into a storm.
You can tell him “I see a storm coming and I want to understand it. Let’s settle down together and hear what you have to say now or later. I love you and want to hear all about it.” Then just sit down and wait.
In this way you are being the parent he needs who can tolerate his strong emotion and not let it scare him. You have re-established the hierarchy quietly as the parent and him as the child.
You become the ‘container’ for his pouring out. Then he won’t feel too powerful and alone. If you yell back or storm away yourself, you are showing him, he is something to be feared which he’s not. It’s just words and feelings, not a fire alarm.