6 steps you can take to keep from losing your cool

By Erica Patino

It’s normal to lose your cool sometimes as a parent. And parenting a child with learning and thinking differences can be especially tricky. When you feel yourself getting upset with your child during a confrontation, having a cool-down plan in place can be a big help.

Review these steps and personalize your plan when you’re feeling calm. It can help you stay cool in the heat of the moment.

Realize you’re getting upset.

This can help you avoid saying something to your child that you’ll regret. Learn to recognize when you’re reaching that level. Then tell your child that you need a break.

Tag-team with a partner if you can.

If you have a partner, put an agreement in place together: When one of you is getting upset, the other partner can take over and talk to your child.

Go by the rules.

Be very clear about expectations and rules. Also be clear about any consequences. Then, if your child breaks a rule, you can calmly point to the consequence and not get angry or upset.

Take some time to cool down.

After you’ve told your child what’s happening, go to another room or take a walk. Clear your head so you can look at the situation calmly and more objectively.

Look for patterns.

Sometimes, certain times of day are especially hard. Maybe it’s when your child is hungry for dinner. Or maybe homework time is stressful for everyone. Recognizing the pattern can help you find ways to prevent it.

Set a good example.

If you want your child to be calm and respectful with you and with others, it’s important to model that. Consider and respect your child’s feelings. Saying things like “I’m upset now, so I’m going to go cool down” will help your child learn how to do that, too.

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    About the author

    About the author

    Erica Patino is an online writer and editor who specializes in health and wellness content.

    Reviewed by

    Reviewed by

    Molly Algermissen, PhD is an associate professor of medical psychology at Columbia University Medical Center and clinical director of PROMISE.