Parenting comes with its own set of challenges, and keeping your cool when dealing with a toddler is surely one of them.
You certainly don’t want to yell, curse or say stuff to your kids that you’d regret later.
But, you lose control in the face of challenging behaviors and lash out at your toddler.
Well, what parent wouldn’t get upset if their toddler throws frequent tantrums with episodes of nagging, whining, screaming, throwing stuff, or fighting with a sibling? Anger is a normal and healthy emotion as long as you manage it effectively.
Yelling, shouting, or any kinds of angry outbursts toward your child will teach them the type of behavior you’re trying to discourage.
So, if you’re wondering how to be patient with toddlers, or you are asking yourself, ‘How do I control my anger with my child,’ know that you are not alone.
Fortunately, acknowledging a problem is the first step to solving it, and you’ve already done that part. So, keep reading, and I’ll explain why you lose your cool with your toddler. I’ll also give you some really helpful parenting tips so that you can become a more patient parent and hopefully make raising your toddler a little easier!
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Why You Are Losing Your Temper
It’s NORMAL to get mad at your toddler if they refuse to listen to you, break house rules, throws a tantrum out of nowhere, and make you feel like you’re walking through a minefield. Seriously, is it even humanly possible not to lose your patience with your children every once in a while?
Most of the time, you feel like it’s your child’s behavior that pushes you over the edge. However, sometimes it’s you who tend to overreact due to the chronic stress of parenting, unreasonable expectations of your kids, and/or parenting triggers.
As a parent, you’re almost always worried about not being good enough. If your toddler acts irresponsibly, you start to think you’ve failed as a parent. Then there are times when your toddler unknowingly triggers you and reminds you of things from your childhood.
If you have unresolved anger toward your parents for some reason and your child triggers those angry feelings, it’ll bring back all those unpleasant memories. Those feelings from your childhood will affect your mood well after so many years.
If you don’t identify your parenting triggers, you’ll lose your temper at the slightest provocation. Think about the most recent trigger that made you yell at your kids. Not all triggers are related to childhood, though.
When you’re sleep-deprived, overworked, and overscheduled, understandably, you won’t be at your best. Now, if you have to deal with your toddler hitting their sibling, something’s gotta give!
How To Remain Patient When Your Toddler Is Testing You
Having a hard time controlling your temper every day? Here’s a list of things you can do to be more patient with your toddler.
Pause Before Reacting
The moment you feel like your child has hit your last nerve and you’re losing your temper, hit pause right away. Take a few seconds before you say or do anything. Anger might make you feel like you have to react right away. Don’t listen to it. Take a deep breath and walk away if necessary.
Taking time to calm yourself down could be a real game-changer when you’re trying to be more patient with your toddler. Also, communicate with your children instead of thinking that kids don’t understand what you’re going through.
Explaining why you’re in a bad mood to your kids and asking them to be nice might work just fine.
Give Yourself a Timeout
If you feel that you’re getting angry with your child, take some time to calm yourself before dealing with the situation. If your child isn’t old enough to be left alone, ask someone to watch them for a while and leave the room.
If you’re alone with them, tell them you’re mad at the moment and don’t want to talk. Take a deep breath and remind yourself that it’s not an emergency where you have to act right away. Make yourself a calming drink while keeping an eye on your child.
Create a personal mantra for times like this and say it out aloud. It will help you gain a clearer perspective and teach your children self-control and ways of dealing with big feelings in a healthy way.
Think Like Your Child
Remind yourself that your child doesn’t have any malicious intentions, nor are they deliberately trying to push your buttons. Your toddler is acting out because they simply haven’t learned how to handle the big emotions they feel yet.
Their language skills aren’t developed enough to express what they need, want, or feel. Just imaging how frustrating it must feel not to be able to communicate your feelings. The moment you start seeing the world through your toddler’s eyes, you can empathize with them instead of getting angry.
Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard
A mother’s job is never done, they say. No matter if you’re a stay-at-home mom or a working one, chances are you’re worried about your never-ending to-do list. It’s hard to deal with a whiny toddler when you’re worried about being late to a meeting, missing a deadline, or running errands.
Who can blame you for snapping at your poor toddler when you’re overscheduled and have booked yourself for 24/7. Make sure you set realistic deadlines. Take a break when it all gets too much, and you feel overwhelmed.
Give Distraction Techniques a Try
When you’re on the verge of blowing up, diverting your child’s mind as well as yours is a great way to keep your cool. There are so many distraction techniques you can use. Instead of reacting to your toddler’s behavior, break into a song, make a funny face, or take your toddler outside to watch the birds.
Pick Your Battles
Children need limits to thrive. Setting and enforcing limits prepares them for the real world and teaches them what’s socially acceptable and what isn’t. You want to raise a well-behaved toddler, but that doesn’t mean you’d expect them to act like adults.
Kids will be kids, and you should allow them to be themselves every now and then. Don’t be equally strict about all the rules you set. They don’t want to leave the park when it’s time to go? Staying 5 more minutes wouldn’t hurt. So, let them be.
But, when it comes to hitting the pets, pushing/ shoving a sibling, don’t tolerate this behavior even for a second.
Make Self-care a Priority
A well-rested mom or dad can handle a toddler’s tantrum way better than an overscheduled mom. A no-brainer, right? If you’re always busy taking care of your children, leaving no time for you to wind down, the stress of parenting might and will cause burnout.
There will be more conflicts than usual, and it’ll get harder to be patient with your toddler. So, get enough sleep, eat well and carve out some ‘Me Time’ to do whatever makes you happy. Talk to your friends, hire a babysitter, and plan a date night with your partner.
You’ll be better equipped to deal with your children if you take care of yourself first.
Also, make sure you:
- keep looking for different ways to discipline your child because what works for one child might not work for another
- choose your words wisely even when your child provokes you into blowing up at them
- never hit your kids no matter how angry you are,
- don’t make empty threats
- get creative instead of getting angry. Say your toddler is used to running late for school every day. Giving them an incentive to leave for school early would work better than yelling at them.
- are flexible and give your child choices. They don’t want to wear the outfit you want or won’t have the snacks you picked? Let them choose between two outfits or snacks. It will make them feel like they have some power and control over their life.
- find an outlet to vent if you have a hard time letting your anger go.
If you’re asking yourself, ‘How can I make my 3-year-old more patient?’, the answer lies in the question. As parents, you influence the way your kids regulate their emotions.
Teach by example because children love to mirror their parents.
Speak from a place of love and kindness even when you express your anger and discipline them. Model the behavior you want to see in your kids. Easier said than done. But keep going. You’ve got this.