Power-Decade Parenting

Family Friday: When Parents Lose Their Cool

Published about 1 month ago • 3 min read

Family Friday Newsletter - 3 min read

by: Finley Robinson

A Single Sentence from a Season Ahead

What other people say about your kids when you aren't around is the best evidence of who they are becoming, so don't be discouraged.

Hot & Cold

It has been a cold snowy week in my part of the country. Translation: kids have been home from school and out of routine way too long.

I've sent a lot of texts to my friends with kids in your 3-13 season, checking in on them. These cold, dark weeks most often heat up the tension at home.

The house is a wreck.
The kids are bored & hungry.
The work responsibilities are delayed.
The parental patience is at an all-time low.

If your home mirrors mine on weeks like these, you've reached your boiling point and it's caused some charred relationships. So what do you do when you lose your cool with your young kids?

The Inescapable Blow-up

Don't compound the mistake.

It's a simple idea that we all should apply liberally to every area of life. The challenge of raising kids is no exception.

I've yelled at my kids. I've lost my temper. I've blamed them and shamed them. Sometimes it was my fault for the escalation. Other times it was their meltdown, but I failed in my response.

With roughly 950 weeks at home before they graduate ... blow-ups will happen.

You're going to have high stakes and hard weeks that create heated words. But what does a brave parent do next?

You can move on or you can move in closer. Here's the advice we were given and who we learned to be along the way...

#1. Be the adult.

Nothing makes a mom or dad feel undone quite like a child that is acting... like a child.

Expecting an 8yr old to be ahead of schedule with their maturity is faulty.

Knowing that you must show up as the adult after you've blown up on your son or daughter is an important and critical step.

Communication is best when it happens 1-4hrs after things have cooled down. Make it your goal to chat about what happened within 24hrs.

It's going to be a brief moment. Because they are the child and you're the adult it will feel short for you and long for them.

Apologize for your words and tone.
Explain to them the emotions you were feeling.
Talk about what you hoped would have been handled differently.

#2. Seek to understand your child.

Getting down on your knees or sitting in a chair changes the whole equation.

Looking direct into their eyes while being on 'their level' evens the playing field. It's a signal that you both can now talk and listen.

Ask good questions about what happened before the situation that caused the blow-up. How were they feeling? What were they wanting?

To go even further into the fray, ask them what it was like to have mom or dad get angry and raise their voice.

(This is all humbling but long-term helpful.)

#3. Help the child understand themselves.

After a blow-up, you have a moment before you. You can contribute to the development and self-awareness of your son or daughter.

Something they were doing or the behavior they were displaying was a major factor in the family meltdown. You saw it as their parent, but the moment missed badly.

Sometimes there were external factors. Running late. Miscommunication. Misplaced toy.

Most of the time, your child's inner person was the issue. Impatience. Selfishness. Secrecy. Stubbornness.

Help them see themselves more. How else will they grow?

#4. Prepare them for the next time.

Parenting is a long game. A long, long, long-term investment.

Paint a picture for them of a time in the future when a moment like this will happen again.

Help them see a different way. Tell them what you expect next time. Give them tools to think, behave, and respond differently in the future.

Tell them you want to be better next time too. Own your part.

Remember, kids learn through repetition. The next time they may not be any better. Hopefully, you will be.

#5. Give praise when they show change next time.

When you've reconnected with your child, shown them the character or behavior you want from them and then they do it ... heep praise on them!

If the most intense emotion they see from you is anger or disgust, what does that communicate? Be even bolder in affirmation.

Yes, you're going to lose it as a parent. What if your response was to go even bigger with praise when your child displays positive change?

That will be what sticks. That will be the affirmation they need to trust you and be an agent of change for everyone.

Big Idea: When you've blown it as a parent and lost it on your child, don't brush it off. Carefully pursue them and everyone will grow.

Praying for grace in your parenting season in the tough weeks!

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Power-Decade Parenting

By Finley Robinson

Helping propel moms & dads of 3 to 13 year-olds to invest in their power-decade of parenting. Father of 3 teenagers and pastor of 20 years turned digital writer.

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