Do you have days where you feel helpless and overwhelmed by your responsibilities as a new mother? You are not alone as these feelings are definitely normal and experienced by most new mums! Despite finding a new sense of joy and meaning in your motherhood journey, there will be times when you grapple with managing your negative emotions, which can take a toll on your emotional health. You may also have experienced “mom guilt”, felt remorseful or upset that you lost control of your emotions while disciplining your child and realizing there was a better way to cope.
Learning how to better regulate your emotions will not only improve your emotional wellbeing but also ease your parenting responsibilities since it increases your likelihood of resolving issues with your child in a less stressful manner. Furthermore, your child’s behavior tends to be a reflection of yours as they closely emulate you in their growing-up years. You can lead by example when you are able to self-regulate your emotions and teach them how to handle theirs in a healthy way too.
Here are some ways to better regulate your feelings:
Acknowledge your emotions
If you are feeling furious or frustrated with your child due to their misbehavior or actions, do not be quick to put yourself down because of these feelings. Work on becoming more open in accepting these emotions and determining their root cause. By doing so, it facilitates your decision-making process on how to react effectively without hurting your child, physically or emotionally. Though you may experience difficulty trying to keep calm during such situations, try reminding yourself of the advantages and long-term benefits. Staying calm aids you in remaining connected with your child as he feels understood and will be more open to admitting his mistakes. It also eliminates your guilt from lashing out at him and fewer sleepless nights caused by this guilt.
Find alternative ways to cope
Why not try to offer your child a hug or confide in someone when you feel like you are on the verge of losing control? This helps you to ease the tense situation and resolve the issue at hand without pampering him. Some methods you may want to try include – embracing him and telling him that you are aware of and understand his displeasure before reasoning out with him. Alternatively, you may want to look back at some of your child’s baby photos or speak to someone who understands your circumstances and feelings. Give these methods a try and you may be surprised by how useful and effective they are in educating your child and reducing stress for both of you.
Give yourself some time to cool down
If you find it difficult to respond calmly with your child in sight, try to give yourself a short time-out of a minute or two by letting him know that you need some time to think. This method can be very useful in having your child to stop his misbehavior or tantrums and can serve as a lesson for him to learn how he can regulate his emotions. It also calms your mind and provides you time to reflect on the reasons behind your child’s actions and where he went wrong. It will also enables you to determine how you should respond and guide your child so that he understands without your needing to become aggressive with him. A time-out can also come in handy when your child is present while you and your partner are unable to come to a common ground as regards disciplining him.
Having to regulate your unpleasant emotions throughout stressful times is no walk in the park, but keep in mind that your effort to do so will be beneficial for both, you and your child. When you are able to deal with your emotions without losing control, you can build a stronger bond between you and your child while maintaining your emotional wellbeing. Consistent effort to manage your feelings also sets a good example for your child to follow – ensuring that he is able to handle his emotions well as he grows.
Lerner, C. 2016. Managing Your Own Emotions: The Key to Positive, Effective Parenting. Retrieved from: https://www.zerotothree.org/resources/521-managing-your-own-emotions-the-key-to-positive-effective-parenting
Perlman, L. 2017. How to Regulate Your Emotions: A Critical Skill For Parents and Children. Retrieved from: https://www.infocuspsychology.com/how-to-regulate-your-emotions-a-critical-skill-for-parents-and-children/