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Parents Panel: What helps you to avoid shouting when you're at your limit?

When the going gets tough… how do you avoid losing it? Our parents panel share what (usually) works.

parents-panel-banner-final1.1 Source: TheJournal.ie

AS PART OF TheJournal.ie’s weekly Family Magazine, we’ve created a space for parents to share their views. A place where mums and dads can share their experiences, lessons learned, and even mistakes along the way.

Staying calm and level-headed when a toddler or young kid is testing your limits is one of the biggest challenges of parenting. Aside from screaming right back at them, how best can you diffuse the situation?

This week, we asked the Parents Panel:

What helps you to keep your cool when you *really* want to shout?

Here are some of their best tips…

Parents Panel All 7 Top L-R: Olly Keegan, Alan Dooley, Denise, Ken Hyland. Middle L-R: Ríona Flood, Ross Boxshall, Marta Lisiecka, Denise Cumiskey. Bottom L-R: Kait Quinn, Susannah O’Brien, Derek McInerney, Suzie Kelly Source: TheJournal.ie

If she’s having a meltdown, I stay as silent as possible: First I will give her a warning to stop. If she continues I will walk up to her and lift her up and carry her away, or I will take her toys away, get down to her level, make eye contact with her and explain why. I will try and stay silent till her tantrum has finished, and then talk about what happened with her when the tears stop. If all else fails I escape to the bathroom to hide and scream silently to myself.

- Denise Cumiskey 

Sometimes I just ask my wife to take over: Our son is still very young, so a lot of what he does is pushing boundaries, just to test that we will always be there and be consistent for him. When it all gets overwhelming, certainly walking away might be the only solution. Quite often, myself and my wife will “tag team”, if one of us gets overwhelmed and we are going to blow, then the other one will be there to step in.  

- Olly Keegan

We had to do a lot of work on ourselves as parents: This has been a difficult process, focused almost entirely on us (the parents of three kids). We’ve tried to engage things like positive reinforcement, tick/star charts, consequence charts, etc. We’ve had success with the charts and with very clear consequences. When kids know their boundaries, we notice that they are more comfortable.

Do we shout? Yes. Do we shout less than we did in the past? Yes. Do we think shouting should not happen at all? No. Every now and then you need a child to listen *right now* and a louder voice helps that.

- Alan Dooley

If my son is acting up, I try to talk to him about it: My son is three, and the “bold” behaviour is easier to deal with if I know it’s caused by something in particular. Very often when we figure it out, he’s calm again. But if I’m tired or have had a tough day, I still get short tempered.

- Marta Lisiecka

I remind myself that Charlie is only two and a half: He’s just learning. He can’t regulate his emotions yet. He doesn’t always understand why things are (or aren’t) happening. Waiting is difficult. He can’t articulate everything that he needs or wants and this can be frustrating for him. And he’s only leaving the newborn and baby phases where he literally couldn’t do anything for himself, so he’s quite used to adults being at his beck and call. It doesn’t always work, but keeping a few of these things in mind helps me be as patient as I’d like to be!

- Kait Quinn

unnamed (1) Charlie being bold(-ish) with a potty on his head.

Pause and retreat: I’m guilty of shouting, but I know it can also have the same effect as not shouting – it doesn’t guarantee results and only winds the ‘shouter’ up more. I try my best to pause, step back and not react to the event immediately .. but sometimes it’s just hard to avoid.

- Ross Boxshall 

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More Parents Panel: Where’s the most awkward place your child has thrown a tantrum?>

More Parents Panel: Mums and dads share the advice they’d give themselves on day one>

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