Each week Michele Borba answers your parenting questions right here on her blog. If you have a parenting problem or question leave a comment on this post and you may have yours answered next week!
I have a 26 month old girl. She is starting to explore many things and obviously will not do as she is told. More often than not, she will be playing/touching/doing things which she is not suppose to do. The terrible two's... I also have a 8 wk old baby girl so that makes it harder for my elder child. I guess some of the things or tantrums that she throws is to seek attention. My concern is that I am getting more and more easily irritated with her behavior and in some situations, I end up being so frustrated that I end up shouting or screaming at her. I keep telling myself to remain calm but most times i end up losing my temper! What should I do? --Sue
I'm so glad you wrote! The first step to help you not yell at your children you just took. You admitted the problem and are seeking help. It's a big step. So now let's help you take step two and find ways to reduce your stress The secret is to find one thing that works for you and repeat it until it becomes a habit.
1. Reduce stress Stress is what fuels anger. Watch caffeine, eat nutritiously. Watch certain medications that may trigger irritability. What about an illness or hormones? Post-partum depression? Might you need a physical?
2. Take a power nap. I'm assuming you're sleep deprived with two little ones, so the moment your two kids are down for 15 minutes lie down yourself. Studies show that a short power nap can be more effective than a longer nap
3. Exercise. It reduces stress. I know you can't join a gym but maybe plop your two kids in a stroller and walk together
4. Change the scenery. The moment you feel on edge and might blow consider a change of scenery Get yourself out of that house with your children. Do anything to break that anger cycle. Take a walk. Go to the park. Walk outside.
5. Get a support group. Is there any other woman you can connect with? Is there anyone you can open up to and confide how you're feeling? Your mom, sister, girlfriend? Is there anyone who could watch your child for just an hour a day or week? Don't do this alone, Sue, would a counselor help? Do you have a minister you can speak with?
6. Find an online friend. Go to iVillage.com or Momtourage.com to find other women online to share what's going on. The moment you start feeling on edge stop what you're doing and go to the computer instead. Get to a chat room or find that momtourage buddy who can help calm you down.
7. Take deep slow breaths. Stress builds into anger and it builds quickly. As soon as you feel it mount you must do something to let it out. Turn away from your children and take slow deep breaths. Keep a glass of water next to you (or a water bottle) and start taking slow sips. Sing instead of yelling. Or just walk to another room. They will be better off if you walk to the next room. The trick is to find one thing that works to replace that anger and do the same thing every single time.
I don't want to overwhelm you with too much, I just want to offer you options. Your job is to sort things out and find something that works for you. Please let me know how you are doing. There are ways to make things better and you owe that to you and your children.
Anyone out there willing to help Sue? An online buddy to check in? Or a strategy that's helped you stay cool when you're ready to lose it with your kids? Please share your ideas. Moms need Moms!
Click here to read more of Michele Borba's Q&As, or leave a comment below with your own questions and it may be answered next week.