5 ways to keep your cool

About to lost your cool?
About to lost your cool? Photo: Getty Images

We all know children have a talent for pushing their parents buttons but here are five tips on how to keep your cool when you feel your temperature rising.

Parenting is a learned skill, it doesn't come with a ‘one fits all’ manual and even the most patient among us will be tested and pushed well beyond what was thought possible.

It requires us to constantly re-evaluate ourselves and change the way we would normally do things. Patience is one such thing. As a parent we need to learn a whole new set of rules and in today’s fast paced and time strapped world it is more necessary than ever.

“Parents are often stressed, pushed for time and are juggling so many things just to keep everything on an even keel," says Family and Parenting Consultant and founder of familyjuggle.com.au, Abi Gold. “Their patience is limited. And unfortunately it is those closest to us and around us that often bear the brunt of our frustration, often our children.”

We all know the feeling once we have lost our patience. That horrible churning of our stomach after we have succumbed to joining our three-year-old in a tantrum of yelling and screaming, and saying things that we wish we hadn’t. But there are signs that we can look for in the lead up to our frustration.

“Some of the physical signs of frustration are racing heart, you may feel your shoulders and back tensing and perhaps your hands tightening”, says Abi. “You may stop hearing what your child is saying, as you’ve heard it all before.”

At this point it is important to stop and take a few deep breaths. Abi advises to “remain calm, retain control and remember that you are the grown up”. Sometimes, though it is easier said than done.

So how can we learn how to deal with our frustration and retain our patience levels? Here are Abi’s top 5 tips.

1. Breathe and count to ten before exploding, leave the room if you have to.

2. Pick your battles and don’t sweat the small stuff. Ask yourself if it really is worth fighting over? Could you ignore or overlook this to avoid unnecessary confrontation?

3. Consider what you are asking. Rather than expecting miracles from your three year old, remember what is age appropriate and reasonable to expect.

4. Try not to shout! Although it can be hard and often it is our first response it is not the answer. Tell them gently what is expected, what behaviour is tolerated and why. Explain nicely rather than losing the plot! Never just say ‘because I said so’. Give your child an explanation so that next time they may stop and remember why Mum said so.

5. Make sure your kids know what is expected of them. Check lists are great for older children.

Kids were certainly sent to try us and try us they do, but remember you are not alone. All parents lose their patience at one stage or another so try not to be too hard on yourself if you fail. After all, it’s not only a learning process for our children but for us as parents too.