As the year gets going, life tends to get busier and busier. Most parents I speak to are overwhelmed with work and social functions as well as helping kids to settle in at new schools or getting their extra murals sorted out. Our lives tend to be so busy anyway, that this added pressure can get a bit much and we need to be careful that our kids are not bearing the brunt of this.
Do you ever find that you make it through a tough day at the office only to come home and lash out at your kids for the smallest mistake? Or that you are churning internally about some unresolved emotional issue and snap at your children when they interrupt your train of thought? We tend to lash out at the people closest to us – in our homes we feel free to vent, to “be ourselves”, to let go of the pent up stuff that we didn’t express with the people who really got our backs up.
If you are carrying around unresolved negative emotions you are likely to take this out on your kids (and/or your partner) at some point. It’s not that you mean to hurt them, but you do.
It is really worth taking some small gaps in your day to assess your own emotional state, particularly before arriving home. This may be as simple as sitting in your car for 5 minutes after arriving and just doing some deep breathing and letting go of your day before greeting your family. Or if you have deeper issues that you are battling with, find a coach or councilor or even a good friend that you can chat to so that you have a constructive outlet for your negative emotional baggage, and particularly if you find that you are not able to address issues with the actual people concerned.
And, of course, keep in mind that we are all human, and we all crack sometimes. If you’ve snapped at your child after a long and difficult day, start by forgiving yourself and then apologise to your child and let them know that it wasn’t their fault. Our kids can learn a lot from our mistakes about how to handle life, relationships and bad days!