You’re not alone. Every parent has moments that we look back on and wonder why we lost our cool like that. Maybe it's an afternoon where you’re feeling extra irritable or “ triggered” by your kids' normal behaviors. Maybe it's a single episode of exploding at your kid when they make a mistake and then regretting it. Sometimes we find ourselves in a longer season of coming across as the “mad mom” or “explosive dad”.
I personally have an ongoing frustration with my oldest child who is now technically an adult, as he just celebrated his 18th birthday. For as long as he has been going to school, he has struggled with being ready to leave on time. I know he's capable of getting up and leaving on time because this fall when his football coach made it clear that arriving on time for school was a requirement for being eligible to play in the Friday night game, he did whatever it took to hot-foot it out of the house in time.
But now, the football season is done and that external motivator isn't there. We are back to frustrating mornings of poor time management. I've tried many approaches to help him succeed. The most recent approach has been letting him choose to be late for school and explain it to the teachers himself. The end result was that he was late for school everyday for a week! I'm not seeing him learning from his mistakes quite yet
Today he was late again, and I became a “mad mom.”
Can you think of your last angry parent moment? What led up to it? Usually it's a combination of factors. Something in our kids' behaviors, what they do or don't do, what they say or don't say, gets under our skin. But how resilient we are to these frustrations and our ability, in the moment, to pause and think of the response we want to have rather than reacting on our first impulse has a lot to do with how well our own basic needs are being met.
When we have unmet needs we are going to feel more irritable, frustrated, impatient and inflexible, just like our kids feel when they have unmet needs.
So the next time you find yourself feeling like the “mad mom” or “explosive dad”, consider these possible unmet needs and how you can meet them to help you stay more balanced and regulated.
Do you have a child or know a child who is quick to anger or expresses their anger in challenging ways? Raising a child who is often on the emotional edge of "losing it" can make parents and caregivers feel like they are walking on egg shells. This leads to chronic stress in the home for parents, siblings and the child struggling with their emotions.
Do you have any family reunions or large gatherings planned for the summer?
My family of origin is fairly small so our gatherings aren't huge. But the words "family reunion" make me picture large boisterous groups of distantly related people along with lots of noise, games, food and stimulation. My husband's side of the family is big and we have plans to attend a large family gathering soon. My kids will be meeting many distant family members for the first time!
It makes me mindful of my four kids and their unique personalities and responses to different environments. I can picture some of my kids jumping right into the unknown territory and having a blast. I can also picture some of my kids feeling very overwhelmed by the noise, the unfamiliar people and the uncertain time frames. If you have a child who's sensitive, shy, easy overwhelmed, or tends towards feeling anxious then here are a few things that could help you set your family up for more successful reunions.
How do you feel when you think about the fact that summer is at least half way done? It's ok to have mixed feelings about it. Summer can hold so many fun things, swimming, picnics, parks, fireworks, fairs! At the same time, for my family and lots of families that I work with, there is some summer burnout that happens around this point.
Summer burnout can happen for kids and for parents. It might be kids feeling a bit bored and starting to feel that all this time off is getting old. It might be parents feeling tired of all the driving to activities, or juggling their work while kids are at home, or navigating siblings fighting or whining.
Here are a few ideas to help you enjoy this second half of summer, block burnout and build some more fun memories:
*go visit the animal shelter or pet store
*make a bird feeder with a milk jug and some duck tape
*make a summer journal with a daily question or topic
*write and illustrate a comic book
*make mini figures out of clay and add them to your house plants
*visit the farmers market and buy something you've never tried before
*run through the sprinkler
*make a hopscotch board (It's really fun to play hopscotch on a trampoline if you have one! Use chalk to make the hopscotch board)
*sit outside for 10 minutes and record the types of birds you see, use a bird book to find their names
*make a summer art project on a large sheet of paper that you can add to throughout the summer
*try out an oldie but goodie like a jump rope, hula hoop, skip ball or kids' pogo stick
*make a bike obstacle out of chalk on the driveway
*make an obstacle course in the yard or at the park
*give your kids a scavenger hunt for the yard, or on a family walk (taking photos of the objects is a fun addition)
Share your fun ideas with us here!
Summer success planning:
I personally have grappled with the start of summer for years now.
On one hand I think of summer as this magical time of fun, connection and happy memory building.
On the other hand, I start to worry about this big transition and change of structure for my kids.
How do I balance the right amount of activities with the need for downtime?
What about behavioral challenges?
How can I use good communication with the other adults involved (co-parent, grandparents etc) to make this summer successful?
Check out this recorded webinar on Summer Success Planning for Parents and Grandparents.
It will help you get the ball rolling on finding the right summer structure for your family, communication between adults, and behavioral challenges.
Use the coupon code SUMMER2023 to get 10% off all products
Wishing you a joyful summer!