Temper Training: 6 Ways to Lengthen Your Fuse

My last post talked about my short temper. Here’s some strategies that are working in lengthening my fuse:Short Temper

1. Me first

I  snap at my kids when I am hungry, tired, or running behind. I never realised how stressed out I am just getting out the door until my two year old started shouting “LATE, LATE, LATE!!” when we were headed on a leisurely outing to the park. Where did he get that from?

I have to do a better job at not over scheduling my kids myself. I’ve got to get a more consistent bedtime, make the kids play by themselves, and decline some opportunities, even if they are great.

It’s like the safety video at the beginning of a flight- Put on your own air mask first. I haven’t been doing this.   Recently though, I’ve started prioritising my own self-care, because this mama becomes a bear without some sleep and food.

air mask airplane

This picture should come with a disclaimer: This image was created by a single man. 1. The kid is buckled in his seat belt and  2. Letting his mum put something over his face…. yeah riiiight.

2.  Sing!

I mess up all the time. I shout, “E!” and then I remember my slow to anger snail.  Instead of finishing my outburst (“Stop climbing on that!”),  I create some ridiculous song and dance (“Did you know the tiger got let out of the zoo, and it’s going to chase you!?”) and pretend my enthusiasm is coming from a happy, ridiculous place. Our house becomes a musical.  We all laugh. They have no idea the storm I just avoided. I then address the behaviour without going mental at them.

3. Over-compensate

I’ve been whispering to my children when I ask them to do something the first time. Then if it escalates, I’m just using a normal volume. There is a seriousness in a quiet voice. A firm hand on a shoulder is very powerful, too.

4.  Set Boundaries

For example, my kids aren’t allowed in the kitchen during meal prep anymore. We used to all cook together, but I become a crazy person with the rug-rats under my feet demanding to be fed or have a go spilling stirring. Cooking gives me a quiet, creative break, and our meals are surprisingly much more family friendly. It’s taken a bit of getting used to, but luckily, my kids are VERY motivated by food.

Kid's cooking will happen, just not at meal time.

The old saying, “No use crying over spilled milk” is a constant reminder when you have a 2 year old. It’s hard not to cry when E poured out the last of the milk (essential for dinner), started splashing in it, slipped and fell, and even though he’s not bleeding, the kid demands a band-aid (UK: plaster). You give him one, but it doesn’t have Peppa Pig on it, so the crying continues. Dear Lord, Help me.

5. I move my feet.

I used to just shout down the stairs to my DH.  Now I make eye contact when I have a request, or I do it myself. It’s respectful, and it means we are more likely to work together as a team.

See how effective the slow to anger snail is? E is totally catching on!

See how effective the slow to anger snail is?! Two Year old be acting crazy!

6.  I pray.

I pray. God please give me patience and self-control.  I pray in my own head and around meal time. I remind my kids when they tantrum that love is slow to anger, and that God wants to help us do that. I confess to them when I mess up, ask for forgiveness, and try again. Kids need this demonstrated to them-

How much better would our world be if kids grew up to be adults who had the courage to admit their shortcomings and be responsible for their own actions?

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