Emotional healing

When you lose it with your child, make the most out of it

This article’s title might sound a bit weird or simply unusual, but bear with me 🙂

Have you ever, as a parent, promised yourself you wouldn’t repeat certain behaviour you had witnessed from the adults around you while growing up? I certainly did when I became a parent.

I vowed not to ever get angry, yell, or ‘lose it.’ At first, I felt confident, thinking, ‘I’ve got this!’

But then, reality hit…

One day, I found myself shouting at my toddler.

The strangest part? In that moment, and even afterward, I didn’t realize I had broken my own promise. Only weeks later, it finally hit me – yelling at my child wasn’t part of my ‘parenting plan.’

This realization was a turning point. It made me reflect on my parenting and consider how deeply ingrained behaviours can resurface, even when we’re determined to change.

Have you ever wondered why some behaviours feel so ‘normal’ to us, even when we promised ourselves we wouldn’t repeat them?

The thing is, when we see certain behaviours and patters while growing up, they can feel ‘normal’, because that’s how ‘normality’ is painted for us. This is why reactions we vowed to avoid can feel like ‘home’ when they happen. They are so familiar and come to us naturally.

It takes times, and effort, and courage, and ‘looking within’, and awareness, to realise that our childhood’s ‘normality’ might’ve been… painful, or difficult, or not how we would’ve needed it to be in order to thrive and feel safe and seen. Even though our caregivers did the best they could, with the information and support they had.

But I didn’t know these things back then.

So what I did was to promise myself that ‘I will never yell at my child again”.

Oh, if a promise to yourself would magically ‘fix it’!…

But, of course, another day came when I yelled at my toddler. This time, I felt like a complete failure. I had made a promise—why couldn’t I keep it? What was wrong with me? And what should I do after I yell at my child? I felt ashamed, hopeless, and lost.

Parent sitting down, seeming sad and hopeless, with an infant in the background

In my search for answers, I started reading and reaching out for support.

What I discovered is that promising myself to never lose it again will never work. What will work is to see each time I ‘lose it’ with my kids as a huge opportunity for growth. Within this opportunity lies the hope for a future with less shouting, less yelling, and less ‘losing it.’

So what I mean by “make the most out of it” is:

Apologise and repair

Making mistakes and doing things we’re not proud of is part of being human. And acknowledging and taking responsibility for our mistakes is also part of being human.

This might look like apologizing to our child: “I yelled at you earlier, that wasn’t right, and it wasn’t your fault. I’m sorry.”

Remember, you are not ‘bad at keeping your temper’ or ‘a bad parent.’ Recognizing when our behaviour was hurtful and caused a rupture in the relationship, and apologizing to our child, that’s taking responsibility. It’s modelling and repairing the relationship. So reframe the thought in your mind to ‘I’m getting better at repairing.’

The goal isn’t to have no rupture in your relationship – but to ensure there are an equal number of repairs.

Get curious and look within

When we get curious and look within, three significant things happen.

Firstly, we gain a deeper understanding of ourselves, develop self-compassion, and can identify the root of our behaviour.

For example: “Yeah, my father used to yell when he felt overwhelmed, and I was actually feeling overwhelmed earlier, so it makes sense I yelled. This is the model I received as a child, that in order to cope with overwhelm you yell.” or “Oh boy, I really just needed to sit down for a moment and catch my breath! I wonder what was the first signal I had that I need to sit down, and why I ignored it.”

Secondly, we become more capable of forgiving ourselves, which enables us to move forward, make repairs, and avoid being trapped in shame. This self-forgiveness helps us not to put ourselves down or criticise ourselves for making mistakes.

Thirdly, this entire process gradually reduces the likelihood of us ‘losing it’ again in similar situations in the future. We begin to ‘lose it’ less and less. And when we do ‘lose it’ again, we can repeat this process: “Oh, I wonder what this is all about. I wonder what I can learn about myself this time.”

If this article resonated with you, was helpful in any way, or if you have questions, I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below; I personally respond to every message.

Things to keep in mind

The process of ‘making the most out of losing it’ is a learning curve. It requires time, patience, and is much easier with support. Remember, you’re not alone in this journey.

If you’d like to practice this process with a Certified Parenting Coach, I’m here for you. Book a free parenting consultation with me today.

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