Along with tidings of comfort and joy, the holiday season seems to always bring a little extra stress. Adding shopping and decorating and family parties to your already hectic schedule can make it easier to lose your cool. But when you're around the kids, it's important to handle stressful situations with composure to set a good example. According to psychologist Matthew McKay, Ph.D., coauthor of When Anger Hurts Your Kids, "Studies have shown that parents who express a lot of anger in front of their kids end up with less empathetic children. These kids are more aggressive and more depressed than peers from calmer families, and they perform worse in school."
So how can you avoid the parental temper tantrums? Here are some helpful tips from Good Housekeeping:
- In that white-hot moment of anger, visualize your child as a baby. "Older kids and teens are not adorable like babies, and sometimes they can be very obnoxious. When you remember them as the babies they once were, that can do some good," says Sandra P. Thomas, Ph.D.
- Take a time-out and walk into another room. Gain some literal distance from the situation to regain your cool.
- If your anger has already boiled over, the most important thing is to own up to what you've done wrong. Apologize sincerely, promise to try not to do it again, comfort your child and move on. Dwelling on the situation can make it seem more traumatic than it really was.
- If you've gotten into an argument with your spouse that your child overheard, it's important to circle back quickly and do damage control, says Charles Spielberger, Ph.D. Don't explain all the reasons you were upset. Just acknowledge what happened and explain that you've worked it out and that you still love each other. If possible, emphasize what you'll do differently next time.
For more tips and ground rules for short-circuiting your anger, check out this article.
Contributed by Alyssa, Fairmont Private Schools
(Photo from EduGuide)