Des Moines, IA

How to Keep a Cool Head



As a parent, we’re faced with daily frustrations and crazy moments. It’s completely normal and kids somehow just know how to push all the right buttons to get us fired up. They have impeccable timing for taking their time when you need to get out the door or beginning to finally eat their food 45 minutes after you’ve sat down. To say it’s a constant power struggle would be an understatement, so it’s not uncommon for us to feel the need to explode (and sometimes we do).


Kids learn from our actions. They are constantly watching us like hawks whether we think they are or not and they mimic. So how, as a parent, do you keep your cool when you’re about to boil over?


Much of it comes down to practicing patience and your approach with your children. We’re sure you already have a ton of patience, so how can you improve to alleviate these situations all together?


Let’s find out.


Woman screaming While there are lots of situations where we may lose our cool, there are really a couple underlying reasons we do.


The first is the power struggle. We all know it. These are the situations where we feel as parents that we need to show and exert more power when our children are testing us. The problem is that the more they test (and they will), the more our emotions get away from us trying to keep hold of that power. Many times we lose sight of what we were trying to accomplish.


The second is physical risk. Most commonly seen in pre-teens and teens, these are the situations where, outside of the home, we perceive our children doing dangerous activities. Many times these risks are ones that go against the family’s values and beliefs. The struggle happens and the tempers rise when these children perceive they are being treated unfairly and begin arguing about their freedoms.


Now that we’ve identified situations where we tend to lose our tempers, how do we modify our behaviors to avoid them?


1. Make a plan ahead of time. We definitely are not thinking clearly in the heat of the moment, so take some time to identify those situations that your children do struggle with you and make a plan on how to react. If you know your child always fights when you go to a restaurant, have a plan that’s ready to implement. This could be a warning system to the child, discussion ahead of time of expectations, sitting in the car if the warning isn’t taken, having a bail out plan, like leaving the situation when the rest don’t work.


2. Don’t take it personally. We know, it’s hard not to, but these struggles with your children are not a representation of your parenting. As kids develop and learn, they also figure out how to be more independent. Many times kids are also either over stimulated, distracted, or just unsure of how to stop the power struggle train on their end so they keep going. The more personal you take it, the more your temper will rise, so tell yourself before you hit your boiling point that it’s a situation, not you.


3. Learn ways to self-soothe (yourself). Figure out ways that you can calm yourself down before it gets too far. Is it taking deep breaths, walking away for a minute, closing your eyes for a minute. Figure out methods you can put to action when these situations occur. It may be as simple as speaking out loud to yourself and saying “you’re not failing. You will get through this with a level head.”


Remember, you are not failing as a parent. We all lose are cool every once in awhile, but what’s important is learning from these past experiences to establish more self-control for future situations.


Farrells Martial Arts Kicker LogoTKD Tip: Teaching children about self-control techniques at an early age can help them develop better responses in situations that may be stressful and cause outbursts.







Location Info

Beaverdale School         Waukee School
2706 Beaver Ave.            215 N. Warrior Lane
Des Moines, IA 50310       Waukee, IA 50263
515-255-0095                  515-978-3000