I love my kids, but I yell at them much more often than I’d like. What can I do to keep my cool when they act badly?

This is one of my most frequently asked parenting questions!

No matter how much we love our babies, the reality is that family life isn’t always smooth sailing. Our children resist our requests, speak disrespectfully, or tune us out, and our tempers may get the best of us. We don’t want to yell, or threaten to ground them for a year, but when our heart is pounding and our blood is boiling, it can seem impossible to stay levelheaded.

Here are four tips to help you find your cool when you’ve temporarily lost it:

1. STOP. As soon as you realize you’re sliding down a slippery slope, call a time out — for yourself. Hitting the pause button will help you gather your wits and regain your footing.

2. Don’t take things personally. If you convince yourself that your children are deliberately trying to upset you, you’re likely to feel disrespected, underappreciated and mad. Remember that children sometimes do things they shouldn’t simply because they are tired, cranky or overstimulated.

3. Avoid turning on “Mom TV.” Sometimes kids push our buttons for sheer entertainment value (“I wonder what Mom will do if I act like I didn’t hear her?”) Walk away — don’t reward your kids with a command performance when they provoke you on purpose.

4. Take care of yourself. If you find that anger is frequently getting the best of you, take a look at whether you’ve been burning the candle at both ends. When you take care of yourself physically and emotionally, you’ll find it easier to handle the ups and downs of parenting.

If you’d like practical support to reduce the yelling, negotiating and bribing, I can help you become the calm, connected Captain of the ship for your kids. Please check out my Parenting Without Power Struggles Membership for ongoing support!

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