I am not always a perfect parent.
I get mad.
I yell… sometimes a lot.
I say things I shouldn’t on occasion too.
Someone should really put me in time out.
I am not the first person to admit that I often can lose my cool with my kids, but it still gives me a major case of mom guilt. I find myself behaving just as badly as they do (in my own adult way). Parental tantrums are not really good for anyone. What do your kids learn from them? What did it really solve? Proooobably nothing (sigh).
How can I avoid these freak out moments?
Next time you have one of those flashes of anger, try one of the following techniques:
- Talk yourself down from your anger.
- Reason the situation down to something manageable with perspective.
- Take several deep breaths and walk away until you can calmly address the situation.
- Invest in a physical item to transition your anger to, like a punching bag or stress ball.
When you do slip up, try a Momma Timeout.
First, let’s cover a few basic thoughts on the whys, whens, and whats of this technique.
Why would you want to put yourself in timeout?
Parents bad behavior should be recognized, corrected, and punished. Just like with your children when they misbehave. Obviously, you are not a child and don’t need to be treated like one, but know that the timeout technique has a two-fold purpose.
- You will gain a bit of quiet time to set your mind right.
- Your child(ren) will see that grownups have consequences for their actions, just like they do as children.
Think of how many times as a kid you’ve wanted to grow up so you can do whatever you want, make your own rules, and not have to answer to anybody… riiiight? See where I’m going with this? As responsible humans, we all have obligations and people to answer to. Adults often have jobs with rules they need to follow, laws to obey, and general societal rules that we abide by. When we break those, consequences follow. When you, as a parent, lash out inappropriately you may as well use it as a teachable lesson for your kids. Even grown-ups have consequences.
When would I use this method?
You can try this anywhere you are comfortable, but I think it works best at home or in the car. As an adult, you obviously get to pick and choose when you are ‘caught’ and ‘punished’ for your outburst… so it’s really up to you. I don’t think it’s wise to do this too often, the effectiveness would eventually wear out with your kids.
Okay, so what is a Momma Timeout?
It’s pretty simple. A Momma Timeout is a several minute block of silence and disengagement. Here are the rules:
- You decide when you are in need of a timeout punishment.
- Apologize for your actions and announce to your children that you are in timeout for the next 5 – 10 minutes. Set a loud timer on your phone, then put it down.
- You may not speak or be included in a conversation for that block of time.
- Everyone else can continue on as normal, but you must remain disengaged from everyone else.
- Do not address any arguments that ensue during this time.
- Do not have any screen time during this block.
- Do not participate in anything “fun” like playing a game or eating a piece of chocolate cake… that kind of spoils the concept.
Think of this as the equivalent to the childhood punishment of standing in the corner. Just exist silently for the amount of time you have set for yourself. Once your alarm rings, you announce that your punishment is over and continue on with your day.
What is the value in this for you?
Here’s the deal. You can’t put yourself in the corner. You still have to be a parent, do laundry, cook, drive the car, etc. Your temporary vow of silence clears space in your mind to calm down, to think through your actions and decide how to handle yourself better next time. The rule that you must be disengaged from any conversation happening around you keeps your anger from stoking itself and building back up. So long as there isn’t any sort of emergency, it will allow you the ability to reset and start over.
So what do you think? Have you tried this method, or something similar? Does it work with your family? Tell me in the comments below.
Keep your cool, Momma!