Perhaps some people will disagree with me since learning to live a more mindful life is to not lose your stuff all the time (which is partially true), but if you have young children, I don’t know how you can get through a day without either you or them losing their s*$t.
So in my life, it isn’t about whether you lose you s#%t, it is about how you can calm down afterwards.
Part of our job as parents is to teach children how to control their emotions. Toddlers can lose their stuff over just about anything. We often think that we have failed when our children lose their s#*$&, but we haven’t; it is totally normal. Our job isn’t to keep them from going off the deep end, it is teaching them how to come back.
As parents. we too, are often pushed to the emotional edge with our toddlers and we need to practice working on our own emotions. Lots of parents practice “not-yelling” at their children and although I succeed at not-yelling the majority of the time, there are times when I lose it and I yell. Loud.
That’s OK. Just like it is OK for your little one to go off.
This is a great teaching moment for everyone. Once you lose it, how do you calm down?
- Leave the room?
- Take some deep breaths?
- Ask for a hug?
- Go outside for a minute?
- Go for a walk?
These are all acceptable ways to deal with losing your s#$t and it is perfectly acceptable to talk about it with your children. In fact, it is encouraged that you process what happened to you with your children so that they can learn how to deal with their s%$t.
This is how children learn to calm down, by watching their parents lose their s#$t and then calming down themselves and talking about it afterwards.
“I was pretty upset this morning wasn’t I?” (This is you talking to your toddler not the other way around, although wouldn’t that be pretty awesome?!?)
“I felt overwhelmed by all the things that needed to happen in a pretty short amount of time and I got upset and I yelled.”
“But then, once we were all in the car, I took some deep breaths and I was able to calm down.”
This is part of the problem solving process, identifying the problem (I lost it) and then finding solutions (taking some time, breathing deeply, getting a hug). This is also part of the process of self-care. Acknowledging that it is OK to lose it and then taking steps to bring your emotions back into balance.
We can’t expect our children to not get upset and we can’t expect ourselves to never get upset. So when it does happen, it is really important that we have the tools to be able to calm down and that we can pass those tools on to our children.