What you're doing to show your kids that they have control over you and how to stop.
How You're Letting Your Kids Control You
If you have kids at home, I'm sure you've seen it. Tantrums, aplenty. Tantrums from toddlers because you tried to hand them their sippy cup instead of setting it on the table so they can get it themselves. Tantrums from preschoolers because their food is not cut up exactly the right way. Tantrums from big kids because the shirt they wanted to wear is dirty and wadded up on their floor. Tantrums from teenagers because they weren't allowed to use the car that night and you're totally ruining their life.
No matter where you are on your parenting journey, you're experiencing tantrums. Tantrums manifest themselves in different ways throughout a person's development. And it's common and totally normal to witness all these tantrums as your children grow and develop and learn how to control and express their emotions in appropriate and healthy ways. Normal doesn't mean easy, but at least we know we're not alone in our tantrum suffering, right?
But did you know that your children have witnessed tantrums, too, and not just by their siblings? But by you? Every time you lose it because your toddler climbed onto the kitchen counter and got into everything AGAIN. Every time you start yelling and shouting and making a scene because a rule was broken or something wasn't done right or to your standards. You are, in fact, throwing an adult-scale tantrum.
How You're Showing Your Kids They Have Power Over Your Behavior
How does this mean that you're kids are controlling you? Well, when you lose it you're showing your kids that they have control over your emotions and reactions. You are showing them that they can, in fact, make your head spin three circles and explode. Of course, people will make you sad or angry or hurt, especially people you care about. You can't control how you feel, it's more of a heart-wrenching reaction in whatever good or bad direction that might be.
But you CAN control how you react to your feelings, or how your emotions affect your behavior. You can make the choice whether your anger or disappointment or sadness will turn into a tantrum or a helpful discussion on how you're feeling, why their behavior was inappropriate, and how you're both going to deal with it.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not condemning anyone. I'm human, just like everyone else, and I lose it sometimes, like most other moms in the world. But when you know you lost control and you shouldn't have been screaming, the key is to come back and admit it. Apologize for losing it. It wasn't your children's fault, no matter how naughty or crazy they were. It was yours. Only you have control over how you react to your feelings.
Lead by Example
Think before you react, and teach your children that they control their own emotional reactions and behavior, no matter what else is going on around them. After all, your child will follow your example, not your advice.
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