Sumitha Bhandarkar started her website, A Fine Parent, with the goal to awaken parents to the idea that great parents are made, not born and to provide the encouragement and information parents require to focus on becoming better parents, instead of beating themselves up about their shortcomings. (Doesn’t just considering that concept make you feel better?)
In one of her most popular posts, How to Ensure that You Will Not Yell at Your Kids Even When You are Hopping Mad, Sumitha tackles a weakness that many of us confront: losing our tempers and yelling at our children. She says:
Having good intention is one thing, reality is quite another. You can think all you want that the next time your kids provoke you, you will not react angrily no matter how mad you are. But seriously, when you are really mad, can you even think straight, let alone control your reaction?
The devil is in the details.
Unless you have a solid plan of action under your sleeve, you will probably just end up screaming at your kids, feeling guilty, possibly apologizing and then repeating the whole behavior all over again. If anything, that just erodes your connection with your kids further. That’s certainly not what we are going after here.
If you really want to give your good intentions a fighting chance of success and ensure that you will indeed not scream at your kids no matter how mad you are, you need to act now. Assuming you are not angry at the moment, now is the time to decide how you will respond at a later time when you indeed angry. Making a list of possible responses and then reaching out to your pre-committed choices when you are angry, substantially increases your chances of success. There is a whole body of research to support this.
Research consistently shows that the more in advance you make a decision — irrespective of whether it is about your money, exercise or even which movie to watch — the more likely you are to make better choices. The closer you are to the decision point, the more short-sighted your decision gets, with spot decisions made under pressure being some of your worst ones. Additionally, if you make a choice and commit to it, and when a situation arises, you completely bypass your brain and reach out to a pre-committed choice, you can avoid the detrimental outcomes of short-sighted decisions.
And to get the ball rolling, Sumitha enumerates eight things she does to keep from yelling at her kids. Her ideas are phenomenal: they are easy to replicate and they work. They include: getting out of the situation; letting her daughter know that she’s angry; setting a time limit to end the hostilities; putting things in perspective; counting; turning the situation into a fictional story; using humor; and visualizing the aftermath.
Click here to read her entire essay, which includes explanations about her eight strategies and an action plan for parents. We are so grateful Sumitha reached out to Power of Moms–we are happy to pass along this empowering resource to our community!
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