Kids will always misbehave at some point but how parents deal with it is what tells us if they understood or not.
When kids misbehave, it’s easier to get angry than to sit them down and talk. Especially when they’re repeating a behavior that they’ve been clearly told NOT to do. While many parents grew up with angry disciplinarians for parents, some decided to break the cycle. It’s a tough battle to maintain that grace and poise as a parent. But hopefully, these tips will help keep one from getting triggered by their kids’ misbehavior.
Different from “grounding the kids”, grounding means finding one object to hyperfocus on to prevent the emotions from exploding when kids misbehave. This is also a common coping technique used among those with anxiety especially when thoughts run wild. To ground oneself, breathe deep and focus on one object and describe it in relation to the five senses. For example, if it’s a flower in the room, answer the following questions:
- Sight – What color is the flower?
- Smell – What does the flower smell like?
- Taste – Is the flower edible?
- Touch – Is the flower soft or prickly?
- Hearing – Is there wind brushing the leaves around?
Once the questions are answered, emotions would have simmered down and it’ll be easier to handle. It doesn’t have to be a flower. It can also be a toy or a curtain, or any object within the room.
A fan favorite of the trigger stoppers is counting backward. Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and count to 10 backward as slowly as one can. To feel it more, it’s okay to also physically take 10 steps back. Doing so allows one to believe that they have “emotionally removed” themselves from the situation, preventing the kids’ misbehavior from triggering things.
If 10 isn’t enough, it’s okay. Do another set of 10 until things simmer down.
No, this isn’t the stuff people say while meditating in yoga. Repeating certain words that hold a certain weight in one’s mind can also assist in grounding and recalling what kind of parenting one needs to be doing. A mantra can be as simple as, “healthy, firm, and kind” to continuously remind one of the promise to be a gentle parent.
Take a cold drink before going through the discipline
If liquor is known as “liquid courage”, cold water should be known as “liquid gentle discipline”. When a person gets angry, their blood heats up and the pressure increases. Drinking some cold water can help slow the blood and drop the pressure down to keep the trigger from rising. In some cases, triggers can also be in the form of choking — which the water can help ease.
Consciously avoiding “red flags” of the triggers
Prerequisites to one’s triggers may sometimes be known as “red flags”. These triggers often come with a warning. So it becomes easy to spot the more mindful one becomes. When kids turn into a “toy-nado”, they frequently have warning sounds such as screaming, laser shooting sounds, explosion sound effects, and other things. Here are some of the red flags of the different kinds of tornados kids create:
- Toynado – Usually done by toddlers, they scream a battle cry and grab random toys before spinning around to toss them everywhere. They may also start gobbling like a turkey or shrieking like a bat. Behind closed doors, it sounds like Michael Bay’s Transformers movie is playing!
- Fashionado – Teens are famous for this especially when they seemingly have nothing to wear despite having a wardrobe selection threatening to pop. Its prerequisites include teens howling down the hall, “MOM/ATE/YAYA, I CAN’T FIND MY (INSERT CLOTHing PIECE HERE)! HAVE YOU SEEN IT!?” and frantic running up and down the stairs. That, or if there are sisters, prepare for some screaming such as, “GIVE BACK MY CLOTHES!”, “WHY ARE YOU USING MY FAVORITE SHIRT?”, “STOP BORROWING MY STUFF!”, “Bruha ka!” and many, many other profanities.
- Food-nado – Pre-teens and teens who want to learn how to cook are the usual eye of this tornado. While it’s nice to hear that they want to learn the life skill of cooking, triggers such as clattering pots and pans, the bouncing of glass and ceramic, and a strange smell of some recipe can cause anxiety. The majority of the time, these usually occur at midnight when they’re getting a bad case of the munchies.
- Papernado – One of the “calmest tornados” with its eye usually being one’s plastered college kid or master’s degree kid lying face first on the floor, on top of papers because they’re just #sodone with a core subject feeling like a major subject. The eye may also be a college kid flapping and flopping on their bed like a fish out of water, groaning. The worst one is they start crying from a mental meltdown because of too many deadlines.
Avoiding these red flags can be in the form of having separate laundry baskets per kid, helping your college kid find a cheap place to bind their readings, and using the toys as part of the home decor.
But taking control of one’s triggers towards kids’ misbehaviors can take time. There will be slip-ups but once one gets the tips down, things will be a lot easier!