Finding your Cool: “But I lose my cool…I can’t help it!”
No matter how difficult it is, try to remember the following points about discipline and behavior management:
- Pick and choose your battles wisely, and stay firm on your rules during those “battles” that you do choose to pursue.
- Minimize yelling and try to model self-control and calmness.
- Remain consistent and try not to give “mixed-signals”.
- Take responsibility for your responses and don’t relinquish control of your emotions (e.g., don’t tell your child, “You are making me angry/sad, look what you made Mommy/Daddy do”).
- Be patient and remember that behaviors may take longer to change than to develop.
- Respect your child’s emotional expressions while continuing to provide boundaries and realistic expectations about behavior.
- Set up situations for success.
- Make realistic demands.
- Know yourself: If you are getting too stressed or angry, it is best to take a break.
- Know yourself: If you are too frequently getting stressed or angry, reach out to family, friends, and/or professionals for help.
- Lead with love into all interactions with your child (this does not mean that you should necessarily be happy or condone your child’s negative behavior, but rather, it means that you should try to enter the interaction with a loving intention – to help improve the situation and to teach you child).
- Keep perspective. Situations could always “be worse.” It is very healthy to maintain awareness of the positive aspects in any situation. (e.g., when your child defies you, try to appreciate that, perhaps, his strong personality will serve him well in the future when you help him change his “stubbornness” into “independence”).
- Never lose your sense of humor.