Dealing with emotions

6 Steps You Can Take to Keep From Losing Your Cool

By Erica Patino

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It’s normal to lose your cool sometimes as a parent. And parenting a child with learning and attention issues can be especially tricky. When you feel that you’re getting upset with him 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. Recognize when you’re reaching that level and tell him you need a break.


Tag-team with a partner if you can.

If you have a partner, put an agreement in place together: When you’re getting upset, you can take a break and he can talk to your child—and vice versa.


Go by the rules.

Kids with learning and attention issues need clear rules and consequences. Be detailed and specific about what happens if your child doesn’t behave. Then follow through.


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.

Maybe your child repeatedly aggravates you when he’s hungry or when it’s time to do homework. Recognizing the pattern can help you find ways to prevent it.


Show your child the relationship you want to have with him.

If you want your child to be calm and respectful with you, it’s important to model that good behavior for him. Consider and respect his feelings.

About the Author

Portrait of Erica Patino

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

Reviewed by

Portrait of Molly Algermissen

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

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