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What's the secret?
By Lori Calabrese
All parents have moments when they want to rip their hair out, throw in the towel and run away, so what's the secret behind calm parenting?
Truth be told, most parents yell at their kids. A 2003 study published in The Journal of Marriage and Family revealed that 88 percent of the families studied admitted to shouting, screaming or yelling at their kids at least once in the previous year.
Susan Stiffelman, a licensed marriage, child and family therapist, and author of Parenting Without Power Struggles, says, "I've worked with thousands of wonderful parents, and it's rare that I find one who doesn't occasionally lose their cool and say or do things they later regret. Parenting is hard work. Yes, it's rewarding, and yes, we love our kids, but it's an exhausting series of endless tasks, often with little acknowledgment or appreciation. It's natural to fall apart at times and behave in ways we wish we hadn't."
Nothing can prepare you for the challenges ahead, but there are ways to calm yourself before exploding. Here are 10 tips to channel your inner Buddha.
Take your own time-out.
Pretend you're in public.
Pretend it's your friend's kid.
Challenge your beliefs.
"If you're coming apart at the seams over something your child is doing, ask yourself this, 'What am I making this mean?'" says Stiffelman. "More often than not, we're concocting a story in our head about our child's behavior that escalates our blood pressure and heightens the tension. If your child is having a meltdown over homework, are you telling yourself that he's never going to graduate? Or perhaps you're taking it personally: 'He does his work just fine for his dad!' Or maybe you're believing that the teacher is going to think you're a lousy parent because by the end of the tantrum, his work is smeared with tears. Take a look at what thoughts and beliefs are behind you losing your cool, and challenge them to see if they're true. They usually aren't."