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10 Tips to Stay Calm When Your Child Acts Up

by | Parenting

Nov 25, 2020

Children act out when they need help with something, are afraid or just in need of attention, but cannot express themselves coherently with words. Suspecting that the last reason may be the case, some parents may feel angry, manipulated and consequently want to express their anger and frustration at the child. You know being calm and patient as a parent is significant, so is developing a fulfilling, meaningful relationship with your child. But staying calm when your child throws a tantrum, gets aggressive or just acts out is a difficult thing to do. 

If you get upset with a child for the use of aggression when he wants something and would want to know how best to stay calm to manage the situation, stay tuned and find out how. 

Some parents take charge of the situation and solve the problem without losing their cool. But I share these tips mainly for those parents who are seeking the virtue of patience. Parents who want to learn how to stay calm (Mostly when they face an aggressive or annoying child). It might seem counter-intuitive, but staying calm and collected helps manage the situation a lot. Here are some ways you can stay calm when your child acts up:

1. Pause, relax and take a deep breath

The first thing you should do when dealing with an annoying child is to notice yourself getting wound up. When it happens, you need to pause, be an exemplary model to your child, and take a deep breath. This allows you to teach your child how to use this breathing method to calm down when they get frustrated with things. 

Pausing and thinking is one sure way to keep your cool when your child acts up. 

It helps you keep your emotions in check, stay less frustrated and more likely to find out what the problem is with the child. 

So, the next time your children keep their toys in the way, making you accidentally stub your toe, try to relax and take a deep breath before addressing the issue. 

2. See the actions of your child in a new light.

After you calm down, try to see the behaviour of your child from a fresh perspective. That of a Child! You need to understand how the development of your child works. Knowing this can help you see the behaviour of your child as less frustrating.

 When you understand your child is not out to get you or trying to push your buttons (Especially as they are incapable of doing this at an early developmental level). Knowing this will make you more willing to understand the child and less likely to flare up. If the child is older, try to understand why they act up. They may have found that acting up gets them whatever they need. 

3. Find out the patterns that trigger you.

It is hard sometimes to remember how to be a grownup in a stressful situation. As a parent, you may not have much control over the behaviour of your child, but you can control how you react to the attitude. Easier said than done, eh? 

Imagine you got back home from a crappy day at a job you think isn’t worth being too crazy about. And all you want to do is fix the kids some dinner, soak yourself in lavender oil in your bathtub, sipping your way to relaxation. 

That vision gets blurred out by your 3-year-old daughter who suddenly decides that her Barbies need to take a bath in the bathtub! The floor you just mopped! 

Here, the first thing to do to calm yourself is to remind yourself of the things that set you off. You should expect these triggers and prepare before time so you can better handle the situations. 

Knowing that moments like these are what push your buttons, you can set up your mind to get ready for these times so you can manage your own emotions and handle the situation well. 

For example, you can give yourself a pep talk while driving home from work. Talk about how your day went and how that could affect your mood. Remind yourself of scenarios that can tick you off and tell yourself to stay calm when your child acts up. 

This can help you quickly remove yourself from the situation when it happens and keep you calm. It will also help you respond less emotionally to whatever happens and will better handle the situation. 

Your children will eventually refrain from acting up when they notice how cool and seemingly unreactive you become in situations like this. 

4. Allow yourself to have alone periods.

A reason you lose your calm and pour out your fury on your child could be a longing for some alone times where you can just stay at a place and reflect. It can frustrate you when your children seem to deprive you of treasured moments like these. 

Kids are always noisy, chaotic and take huge chunks of our time. If you have most of your time occupied by other activities, you will crave for some peaceful moments where you can sit and do nothing but rest. 

Seize these moments and use them to the fullest. Zone out of your busyness and ignore your children for a while. Remove yourself from the chaos and go sit somewhere and breathe, relax and think calmly. 

You can also plan out relaxation activities during the week like yoga, a massage, a book reading event, just plugging in AirPods and listening to music. It would help to take time out in a week and do activities like these as they help your mental health and prepare you for meltdown situations. 

Having quiet sessions like these will help you control the chaos and keep your cool when your child acts up. It helps you also teach your children how necessary peaceful times are, and this will encourage them to stay still and calm in frustrating situations. 

5. Try to reduce the frequency of stressful situations. 

Cutting down the number of times situations like these occurs can help you stay under control when frustrated or provoked. Kids mirror the reactions and emotions that you express towards them; therefore, if they see you flustered or frustrated about a conflict, chances are they will be too. 

To avoid this, communicate with them clearly, calmly, positively and as politely as you can be. Be firm but remain calm. When your kids sense any urgency, aggression or stress in your response, they get annoyed, obstinate and more aggressive. Try not to talk to them sarcastically or use threats, criticise or label them because of their behaviour. 

Saying things like, “You are inconsiderate,” “If you do this, I will not do what I promised.” “Why can’t you control yourself?” “You are Selfish”. Saying things like these are going to agitate and anger your kids all the more. Besides this, they could gradually injure the confidence your children have in themselves when they get older.  

You should understand the significance of commending good behaviour. You may be hesitant to praise these mischievous little beings who seem to cause one chaos or the other, but learning to make this act a habit will yield the result you want. 

Practice commending your kids for any good thing they do and firmly but calmly rebuking the bad. They will aim to please you more by trying to maintain good behaviour. This is a simple parenting trick, but the results are massive. Another thing you can do is to set down rules. You should also state the implications of breaking these rules. 

So, whenever your child acts up and breaks the agreed rules, you should not get frustrated since your child understands the repercussions that follow their actions. You do not need to yell or say words that you will regret later. 

6. Teach your child how to recognize and communicate how they feel. 

Your children act out mainly because they lack the words to express how they feel (this situation is common among younger kids), so they get frustrated and misbehave. 

You should understand that children are merely little beings who do not yet understand how to express themselves or how to care about and predict the wants of other people. They are not aware that a person can have different feelings and needs from their own. 

The ill behaviour of your child maybe because of something you said or did to him earlier in the day. You may need to apologize for how you acted to him, but you can never know this unless you ask your child. 

Communication breaches the gap between you and your children and makes it easier for you to understand how they feel. 

Understanding this will make you empathize with your children. Then you can teach them how to identify and describe their emotions. This minor act saves you both a lot of stress, makes you bond more with your child, and even helps your child when he or she gets into tougher issues as they get older. 

7. Be Thankful. 

Despite how stressful your child makes you feel, learn to be grateful for the gift of parenthood. Practice how to appreciate what you have; take time out to be thankful for how important your child is to you.

Doing this makes you calm down fast and helps you react empathically to your child’s needs or discomfort. The memories you share with your child are reminders of the beauty of parenthood, even in difficult moments. (Especially in difficult moments)

8. Apologise when you lose your calm

You’re only human. You can learn all these tips and methods, practice how to implement them when chaotic situations arise, yet still lose your cool sometimes. It is totally normal for you to experience moments like these several times during your parenthood. 

 Whenever this happens and you lash out at your child, realize your mistake immediately and apologize for your reaction. You can even turn the situation to your advantage and make it a learning experience about how to apologize. 

This habit makes you become a proper role model to your child as you’re teaching him how to manage situations like these, not just in the present, but the future. You’re also teaching him it is okay to be at fault, but the most important thing is to admit mistakes and apologize for making them. 

When you show humility and are transparent about your faults, you become the best role model for how you want your child to behave.

9. Hug it out

Most times, all your child needs are attention and care. The need to feel close to you and bind with you. Hugging a child when they act out can cause positive responses and even turn an unpleasant situation into a calm one. When faced with a frustrating situation with a troublesome child, instead of lashing out and hurting you both, try to just hug it out. 

10. Practice and time

Parenting is one of the most complicated things to do. It takes a lot of hard work, patience, time and practice. Especially if you have a short temper. When you put all these tips into practice, you get better at keeping your cool and handling your children when they act up. 

To succeed at being calm and managing the aggressive behaviour, you need to practice doing these things no matter how difficult they seem. With discipline, it will be easier to do and practice. Over time, you will get used to it so it will get easier to control yourself in such situations. 

Each time you practice staying cool with these tips, you program yourself to get better at staying calm. After a while, it gets easier to do. 

Remember that you will lose it sometimes, but when you do, try not to give up! Keep on doing what you need to do to stay calm when your child acts up. Practice, exercise patience and keep up with your work. This will help you notice that your reaction to the behaviour will be in check.

By Emilie Schleif

Emilie Schleif is a Lifestyle Writer at Whatsdalatest, where she covers all things relationships and wellness—born and raised in La Canada Flintridge. She currently lives in Hamburg and loves running, hiking, and walking with her dog, Jasper.

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