I love the title of Carla Naumburg’s new book How To Stop Losing Your Sh*t with your Kids! Because I was this mum. Ok I needed to be pushed to my limits but I was in reaction not in action when it came to my daughter extreme meltdowns, of which there were many. I really love L.R.Knosts quote “When little people are overwhelmed by big emotions, it’s our job to share our calm, not join their chaos.” it has been a good mantra for me.
I have used this as a foundation for keeping myself calm when my daughter is not. I am delighted to interview Carla today as she is has written a whole book around what I believe is one of the most powerful parenting tools out there.
Hi Carla, Welcome to No Mum Is An Island. I am a great believer that no mum or dad should have to do everything themselves, we can’t possibly know it all, and we need all the support we can get, there is a wealth of information out there to help us upgrade our parenting experience, to make our lives easier and this website is a hub for just that! You have upgraded your life but seeking out how to stop yelling at your kids and then sharing that information!
Very few parents admit to shouting at their kids, but when I am open an honest about my parenting fails such as shouting, others are quick and I would say almost relieved to be able to share their own parenting weaknesses. Why do you think we keep it quiet when we lose our cool?
Because we’re ashamed. It’s as simple as that. Even though most of us know we’re not the only ones blowing up at our kids, that can be so hard to remember when things get rough. (Social media doesn’t help at all, as we spend our days staring at pictures of other parents looking happy and calm. Thanks a lot, other parents!) And that just feels bad, and makes it hard to talk about.
You say ”It is not a matter of will power, many parents decide not to lose their sh*t” but then we do. So the big question is, is it us or is it our kids that make us shout?
Great question. It’s definitely us. No matter how irritating or challenging our kids may be at any given moment, we are 100% responsible for our behavior. It is our job to learn how to stay as calm and patient as possible, as often as possible.
What are the most effective tools to stop us from losing our sh*t with our kids?
The good news is that there are a ton of strategies (which is why I wrote a whole book about it!). It all starts with identifying what triggers us, thereby making it more likely that we’ll lose it with our kids. Our triggers can be anything from exhaustion and work stress to anxiety and difficult relationships, and when we learn how to reduce and manage those triggers and take care of ourselves, we become more patient and calm with our children.
In addition, there are a variety of strategies we can use in the heat of the moment, and they all start with noticing that we’re about to lose it. Most of us can go from zero to freak out without ever realizing what’s happening, which is why that brief moment of awareness – of noticing that we’re barely hanging on – makes all the difference because it gives us a chance to head in a different direction.
It is wonderful to know all these tools but what happens when we do flip our lids, how can we bounce back from that and mirror to our kids that we all lose our sh*t sometimes but that it is not ok.
YES! I am so happy you asked about this. The first, and most important step, to bouncing back and reconnecting with our children after a parental meltdown is taking care of ourselves and getting calm. If we try to reengage with our kids before we’re ready, we’re likely to lose it again. So, first, do what you need to do to get truly calm.
Then, go say you’re sorry. Yes, you can apologize to your children without undermining your authority. And even if your kiddo did something really annoying or problematic, you can still apologize for your own behavior. And once you’ve said you’re sorry and reconnected, you can have a conversation with your child about their behavior if you need to.
Can you talk to us about guilt? Guilt is very real and I know mums so are consumed by guilt and then become permissive to counteract the guilt. Have you got any advice?
Ugh. Guilt. It’s the worst. It’s just not a productive emotion, and it feels awful. As much as I’d like to say that we should just all stop feeling guilty, I know that’s unlikely to happen. The best way to counteract the guilt is to spend time with people who love you and will remind you that you’re a great parent, even when you lose your shit with your kids.
Is there anything else you can share that will support parents who want to stop losing their sh*t?
Yes! It all starts with self-compassion. When we can cut ourselves some slack and treat ourselves with kindness, parenting (and life!) feel a lot easier and more fun. Plus, we’re far less likely to blow up at our kids again. This isn’t easy, though, especially if we’ve been berating ourselves for years. So, if you’re not sure where to start with self-compassion, think about how you would talk to a good friend who’s having a hard time. And if you can’t quite bring yourself to treat yourself with compassion, then can you find a friend who can treat you with kindness, and spend some time with them?
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