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Tips to Avoid Lashing Out at Your Children

Tips to Avoid Lashing Out at Your ChildrenYou are going through a bad divorce. You don’t know if you can make your mortgage payment. You can not find time to work, put food on the table, and spend time with your significant other and children. Your boss yelled at you. You spilled orange juice on your dress pants. You got a flat tire on the way home from work. Your child just tread mud throughout your clean house…

You feel frustrated, stressed, and angry… but this is no excuse to lash out at your children! There are other ways to deal with the stressors in your life.

Here are some tips:

• Pause and breathe – Take a few deep breaths. Close your mouth (and maybe even close your eyes) and mentally count to 20. Take a moment to cool down and make sure that you do not say or do something that you will regret.
• Why are you angry? Do you have a good reason to be mad at your child, or is your child merely a convenient target to vent your frustrations on?
• Timeout – If you find that it truly is your child with whom you are angry, put him or her in timeout. While he or she is in timeout, calm down. Once you are calmed and your judgment is clear, then you can think of an appropriate punishment. You may find that time in spent in timeout is adequate. If you find that it is not really your child that you are angry with, but something or someone else, you can put yourself in time-out!
• Take a walk – Find someone to watch your children and take a walk. Get out some of your energy. Calm yourself down.
• Talk to a friend – Sometimes, you merely need to vent. Tell your friend about your anger and frustrations instead of taking it our on your child.
• Set aside some “me time” – To properly care for your children, you must care for yourself. Take the time to have a nice and soothing bath, read a book, exercise, do a craft, listen to music, etc.
• Before you speak, think about if you were in your child’s position. How would those words and actions affect you?
• Splash some cold water on your face.
• Call a family support helpline.

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