February 28


How To Stay In Control When The Kids Are Driving You Mad

Are your kids driving you mad?shouty300

Are you sick of hearing things like:

“That’s not fair Connor goes to bed whenever he likes”

or “It’s not my fault I got detention, my French teacher hates me”

I heard both of those recently from my 12 year old and I know it’s easy to get stressed and fall back into the habit of communicating with them by shouting.

In a previous blog I gave you an ABC of staying calm and today I want to tweak that ever so slightly to use in this kind of situation.

Of course an ABC may seem too simplistic but I encourage clients to think of the ABC system when they can feel a situation becoming stressful at the office or feel a temptation to shout at home because its easy to remember. Start to think of those feelings as a trigger to stop. Then think “what does ABC stand for?” This means you have interrupted a pattern of behavior and you will be retraining your automatic response to be more effective at handling this sort of situation.

STOP – press pause

Put simply it is like pressing pause on the situation so you can work out what to do. Once you have paused follow this ABC:

Think ABC

A is for Affirmation:

Drown out any inner unproductive voice screaming out things like:

“Aaaaaarrrggghhhh why does nobody ever listen to me”

“just give in, its easier”

“what did I do wrong?”  

In my last post I wrote about how feelings, thoughts and behaviour all affect each other so start to manage you thoughts with an affirmation like:

“I love my kids and they love me” I am calm, it’s just his hormones”

“I am calm, I can handle this”

“I can handle this, a good mum sets boundaries”  

B is for breathing:

Don’t miss this one out thinking “of course I’m breathing” because when the pressure is on your breathing changes and although you aren’t even aware of the changes they affect stress hormones in your body and how you feel about the situation which then influences how you behave so remember to take big, deep, slow breathes in and out while repeating an affirmation to yourself

C is for communication:

In a work environment I often encourage clients to think C is for circulation because like breathing, getting up and about, stretching and taking a break helps us manage our responses to a stressful situation or too much pressure. However when it comes to dealing with stroppy kids (or partners) always think C is for communication. Communication is a BIG subject though, so think about what you said last time you had a “heated conversation” with your child:

What could you have said instead? If someone at work had spoken to you in that tone of voice what would you have said? It’s unlikely that you would have responded by shouting in a work environment.

Some quick tips for better communication are:

  • Let them know you understand their point of view then explain your point of view. Let them know the reason for your decision.
  • Stand firm and repeat the same thing,up to 3 times if they keep arguing then refuse to discuss the matter further
  • don’t use the “but” word.  Use “and” instead, “but” negates anything you said before it.


For example:

  • “I know you don’t want to go to bed, but it’s tough you’re going anyway”


  • “I understand you don’t think its fair that you have to go to bed at this time when some of your friends are allowed to stay up and I still want you to go to bed nowbecause you won’t be able to concentrate as well at school unless you have had enough sleep”

Review and Revise

If this doesn’t work the first time don’t give up and don’t beat yourself up about it,  just review and revise!

  • What went well?
  • What can you do differently next time.
  • If you didn’t handle the situation well and you believed there was “no failure only feedback” what would that feedback be?

Leave a comment and share your favorite tip for staying in control in the comments box at the bottom of the page!

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