4 Parenting Tips for Tough Moments
People sell parenting as this beautiful journey unlike any other. Though some days, it just feels like being some kid’s petty chauffeur. There are no big life lessons to teach, no earth-shattering revelation on the drive home, just another day navigating your and someone else’s busy schedules on your own.
When they talk back to you, yeah, it might make you want to explode. You’re human.
Parenting without expending massive amounts of energy is imperative to getting through your kid’s toughest moments. Here are some of the most common times parents crack under the pressure, and tips on how to get through them.
1. Parenting Tips When Life is Stressful
Try to separate work life from home life by compartmentalizing your stressors until you have enough time to deal with them.
Literally imagine lining up all your troubles into a box, and keep the box off to the side in your brain until later that night, or the next morning. This can help you manage your energy levels so you have enough left to focus on your kid.
And if your kid is having a night to themselves by playing video games or doing homework in silence, great! Don’t reopen the box yet. Instead, call a friend and take a breather outside, or enjoy some chill music or TV at home until your mood settles.
2. Parenting Tips When Your Kid is Sick
Show your child that their health is your top priority. Keep the air around them positive, quiet your household, and give them space to rest while providing plenty of fluids and over-the-counter or prescribed meds as necessary.
If they’re having trouble resting, help them stay distracted by putting on their favorite movies, giving them games, or crafts to do from bed. Some children are restless even when their body craves rest, so activities that keep their mind busy while allowing them to sit still are great for sick days.
3. Parenting Tips When Your Kid is Disruptive in Public Places
While everyone has different rules in their own home, in public, we follow more societal expectations.
Quieting your child down by giving them whatever they’re screaming about is the easiest way to reinforce disruptive behavior in public. Children have big emotions and are always learning how to self-regulate them. If they correlate explosive behavior with getting what they want, they will not learn the importance of self-soothing and emotional maturity.
Instead of giving in, go for a pause.
Don’t degrade them for their behavior or tell them to “suck it up.” Take a break on a nearby bench and let them calm down. When they’re calmer, you can restate the goals of the outing: to find a birthday present for Grandpa, not to shop for new toys.
You can validate their frustrations—that toy did look fun! It sucks that they can’t play with it now that they know it exists. But toys cost money, and we only have the money for Grandpa’s present today. In order to get it, we need to be calm walking through the mall.
4. Parenting Tips When Your Kid is Physically Aggressive
Similar to public disruption, aggression in children is one way they express emotions like fear. It’s hard to be patient when you’re literally being attacked.
Work to put physical space between you and your child to protect yourself, and always calmly pause the conversation to recollect yourself if you get physically hurt.
As you give your child the space to talk, ignore the hurtful things they say and get to the reason behind their pain. After validating their fears and making them feel heard and understood, bring up the aggressive behaviors again and explain why they’re not okay to do.
Before you can teach your kid about emotional regulation, you need to have control over your own. A great way to learn this is through counseling. Even if you’ve never done therapy before, you’re a parent now! Your needs can be different. Meet yours so you can master meeting your child’s.