If we’re honest, there’s only so much you can take of nagging, tugging on clothing, rejection of peanut butter sandwiches that have been specially requested, or instructions that are blatantly ignored, before you morph into a full-on banshee. Knowing that you’re entitled to your outburst doesn’t make you feel OK for losing it with your kids – which is why it helps to have some quick tricks to get your bond back.
Try these 9 steps to reconnect with your children after you’ve had a mommy meltdown:
Acknowledge that things went a little pear-shaped
When you’re feeling calmer, give your child an explanation for your moodiness and apologise. Apart from showing your child that you’re only human, this can teach her to take accountability for her own moods and actions.
Talk about emotions
Give your child a chance to tell you how she feels after your meltdown. Ask her to name the emotion; a powerful way to help her recognise these same emotions in herself. In fact, neuroscience tells us not to underestimate how healing it is to simply put a name to an emotion.
Tell her that you love her
Assure your child that you will never stop loving her – even when you’re feeling angry or if she is angry with you.
Give her a hug
Ask if you can have a hug, which is an important sign of your unconditional love.
Ask for a do-over
If you lost it when your child was asking for something for the millionth time, while you were right in the middle of something or because you were distracted, start from the beginning and do the things the way wish you would had the first time.
Take a deep breath
Tell your child to take a deep breath, and take one yourself at the same time. A flood of oxygen has a surprising ability to remove stress. Consider it your “reboot” button.
Talk, together, about your responsibilities. Discuss how you will try to rein in your temper next time, but point out that whining or nagging is not pleasant for anyone and suggest more effective ways for your child to get your attention.
Spend quality time with them
Now’s the time to start playing. Get physical with a piggyback ride, a dizzy dance or a horsy ride. Being a little silly and physically bringing yourself to your child’s level will make her feel pure joy. Plus, play is one of the most powerful ways to kindle a connection between the two of you.
Do something special with your child
Schedule a date within the next few days, and let her choose the venue. Your child will feel important knowing that you are setting aside time just for her.
In her 16 years as journalist, Lisa Witepski’s work has appeared in most of South Africa’s leading publications, including the Mail & Guardian, Sunday Times, Entrepreneur and Financial Mail. She has written for a number of women’s magazines, including Living & Loving, Essentials and many others, across topics from lifestyle to travel, wellness, business and finance. She is a former acting Johannesburg Bureau Chief for Cosmopolitan, and former Features Editor at Travel News Weekly, but, above all, a besotted mom to Leya and Jessica. Lisa blogs at whydoialwayscravecake.blogspot.com and lisa.witepski.blogspot.com, and tweets at @LisaWitepski.