Summertime can lay additional pressure on an already stressed-out parent. It can be exhausting to find ways to keep the kids busy without neglecting your responsibilities, mediate disputes between siblings, manage screen time, and always have an answer to the perpetual question: what do we have to eat?
Even the most caring parents can lose their temper with their children when overwhelmed. If a concerned stranger or mandated reporter catches you at the wrong moment, you might be stunned to find your family the subject of a child abuse investigation. Here are a few tips for keeping your cool with your kids when the weather gets hot.
Note Your Emotional Triggers.
An emotional trigger occurs when your child engages in behavior or assumes an attitude that immediately makes your blood boil. Psychologists say that identifying your emotional triggers can help you to maintain your temper at the critical moment. For example, if your anger is triggered when your child fails to clean up after themselves, if you feel your temperature rising when looking at the mess, take a moment to acknowledge your feelings instead of lashing out. You might say to yourself: I'm angry that Suzy has left the kitchen a mess, and I feel that I'm going to lose my temper. That brief pause and reflection can help create a space where you can choose a more calm and productive response to the situation.
Take a Deep Breath
Taking a deep breath to calm down sounds like a tired cliché, but the science behind deep breathing is undeniable. Breathing from the diaphragm stimulates the vagus nerve, which signals the brain to release chemicals that triggers a "relaxation" response and decrease the production of stress hormones. So, when your child pushes your buttons and your temper is rising, cultivate the reaction of taking a few deep breaths while counting to ten to become more relaxed before responding.
Pick Your Battles.
Every parent needs to determine which battles are worth fighting over. If your toddler insists on wearing one blue sock and one red sock, it might irritate you, but you must ask yourself if wearing mismatched socks is such a big deal that it's worth a meltdown–theirs or yours. If your teen failed to clean their room as well as you'd like, consider whether it's worth having yet another heated argument about it. Sometimes it's best to let things go in the heat of the moment and discuss the issue when you're both calmer.
Contact a Knowledgeable Pennsylvania Family Lawyer
A misinterpreted moment between you and a child can send your family down the terrifying rabbit hole of a child welfare investigation. If you have been accused of child abuse or are subject to a ChildLine investigation, contact an experienced Pennsylvania family lawyer immediately. Attorney Joseph D. Lento and his Family Law Team have helped many families arrive at the best possible outcome in child abuse accusation cases. Call 888-535-3686 today for a consultation, or schedule one online.