Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Mindful Parenting: Keeping Your Cool

Do you find yourself yelling more than you'd like, sometimes without thinking? You can help stop the cycle and bring yourself to a calmer household with a little effort.

First of all, realize that anger is a healthy emotion that shouldn't be bottled up, it just needs to be expressed appropriately. If your anger is getting the best of you, evaluate the situation and see if there are some underlying issues or recurring tensions that are making you react the way you are, and figure out ways to help alleviate those issues. Use healthy ways to vent your anger, too, such as writing, talking it over with friends, walking (especially outside), or doing some aerobic exercise or other vigorous activity.

Reevaluate your expectations, too. Anytime you find yourself thinking you should or shouldn't do something, evaluate whether it's external pressure you're feeling - the pressure to be like someone else, for example - or if it's really something you should or shouldn't do. And learn your own personal triggers. If you feel yourself about to blow, take a timeout - for you. Make sure the kids are in a safe room, then remove yourself from the situation until you feel yourself becoming more rational.

And take care of yourself. You can't be a really good parent without being a healthy parent, and that includes mental health. So do what it takes to keep yourself healthy and stable. Talking with friends - even about perceived failures as a parent - will help (trust me, they'll have their own stories to share, and may even have some suggestions). Do something that makes you happy - without the kids - at least once a week. And get enough sleep and eat healthy as well.

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