I am the blessed mama of not just one, but two very spirited (aka strong-willed) children and am quite the strong-willed mama myself. This can obviously result in some very tension filled moments between my kids and I — like when I’m waiting, and waiting, and waiting… and waiting, for my son to “Do it MYSELF!”.
I will admit that I have, at times, gotten into power struggles with my toddler (and really, who is acting more like a child in that situation?). And I have gotten frustrated, or lost my temper, and yelled more often than I would like to admit. And I always feel so badly afterward, because really, I don’t want to be that kind of mom.
And just like I’m working on my patience with my son’s independence, I’m also working on not being a yelling mom, but it is really hard sometimes when I ask my son to do something, and then ask again, and again, and he acts like he doesn’t even hear me. And it’s right at that moment when I know if I ask again that I’m going to start yelling that I know that mommy needs a “time-in”.
What is a “time-in” you ask? Well, that is a good question.
Basically, it is me removing myself from the situation so that I don’t lose my temper and speak to my son in a way that I know I will regret later. It is my way of giving myself some space and time to cool off for a second so that I can go back with patience and grace in dealing with my son’s behavior.
So, I leave the room. Walk away. I might go into my room for a few minutes and do some straightening up. Or into the kitchen and put some dishes away. I’ve found it helps for me to do something with my hands, rather than just stand there and fume, it helps to calm me down.
Then when I’m ready to go back to my son, I go right up to him, get on his level so that he’s looking in my eyes and talk to him in a calm voice and explain what I need him to do.
Do I always do this perfectly all the time? Definitely not. I still yell sometimes, and then wish that I hadn’t. But, I will say, that when I give myself a mommy time-in that things go much more smoothly; I feel better, my son feels better, and amazingly, usually this tactic works much, much better than yelling ever would.
Do you find that sometimes you yell at your toddler, even though you wish you didn’t? How do you keep yourself calm to avoid yelling?
Top photo credit: pasukaru76/flickr