Parent-child tensions can notably increase during summer when the kids are home all day and parents are busy juggling their responsibilities. Sometimes these tensions can result in behavior you're not proud of, including behaving aggressively with your beloved child. If a mandated reporter or concerned individual sees and misinterprets your behavior, you might become the subject of a Division of Child Protection & Permanency (DCP&P) investigation.
Don't let the summer heat get the best of your temper. Here are three suggestions to stay cool and even-keeled with the kids all summer.
Avoid reacting in anger.
There's no shame in getting angry–it's a normal human emotion. That said, we rarely make our best decisions when we react in anger. In fact, we don't make any conscious decisions at all. We lash out without considering the consequences. In the heat of the moment, we need to find a way to hit pause on our angry reaction.
One way of hitting pause is by taking slow, deep breaths before acting. Although this action may sound too simple to be effective, this anger management technique is grounded in science. Taking deep breaths triggers a relaxation response in our nervous system that calms the fight-or-flight response we get when we're anxious or upset.
The next time you feel yourself growing tense in response to your child's actions, take at least three deep, slow breaths before addressing the situation.
Give yourself a time-out.
When kids are misbehaving, or you're feeling irritated by their noise or exuberance, try giving yourself a time-out instead of them. Go into the bathroom, step into the yard or hallway, and take a few minutes to collect yourself. If they're old enough to understand, tell them you are upset or angry and need a few minutes to calm down. Don't feel guilty about giving yourself this break– a composed parent is better able to handle the situation and makes for calmer children.
If you cannot leave them alone, one psychologist suggests running your hands under cold water to help you cool down. You can also try reciting a mantra, such as: "Kids need love most when they deserve it least" or "This too shall pass." These mantras can give you perspective on the situation.
Dig deep into the situation.
When you feel angry, try to take a moment to consider the situation from different angles. Consider why you feel so annoyed or angry: Has the child's behavior triggered your feelings? Or are you tired? Or upset over something that happened at work or with your spouse? Is the child acting out because they're hungry, tired, anxious, or need a cuddle? When you examine the emotions and events that might trigger negative feelings, you might react more calmly and empathetically.
Reach out to an Experienced New Jersey Family Lawyer
A moment of lost patience with your children might set in motion events you would have never believed. If you have been accused of child abuse or are subject to a DPC&P investigation, contact the skilled and knowledgeable attorney Joseph D. Lento and his Family Law Team. We have helped many families achieve the best possible outcome in child abuse accusation cases. Call 888-535-3686 today for a consultation, or schedule one online.