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4 Strategies to Win the Fight for Your Family in Challenging Seasons

We’ve all been there – tension is high and patience is slow. When the temptation to give up and is greater than the desire to stay and fight for your marriage. Challenging times are fair game for EVERY family. And what you do in the face of these tough times makes all the difference.

To fight means to strive or contend for victory in battle or in single combat; to attempt to defeat, subdue, or destroy an enemy, either by blows or with weapons.

When a boxer gets in the ring, he’s not there to lose. He’s going for blood to win the fight!

I personally didn’t get into too many fights when I was younger but I was in enough to learn a few tricks. And the first thing girls did, was take out their earrings and pull their hair back.

Why am I talking about all this fighting? Because we have a very real opponent in this ring called LIFE, who’s already throwing punches. And we need to be ready to hit back and not get sucker punched.

Right now families are under a sneak attack.  Meanwhile we’re so busy with life that we don’t see the enemy’s strike coming right at us.

We live in a world that’s becoming increasingly antagonistic toward families. One that’s dulling what it means to be committed to someone else for a lifetime. I remember 20 years ago being the odd one in any group because my parents were still married. Now, it’s much worse.

Stay in the Ring & Fight for Your Family!

The world around us is yelling at us to give up. It says when our teenager starts acting out, “It’s just a phase…She’ll grow out of it…It’s what all teenagers go through.”

It says when our spouse becomes physically and emotionally detached, “he’s not worthy to have you anymore…There’s someone else out there who will really love you…She can’t expect you to wait forever for her to change.”

And chances are some of these comments might even come from people in your own inner circle trying to offer “well-meaning” advice.

There’s nothing keeping us in the ring anymore. But let me urge you not to throw in the towel. Whether your marriage and family life is strong, weak, or barely hanging on – we need to know we’re standing in a real ring.

Related: How to Complacency Proof Your Marriage and Family.

We’re fighting a real opponent who’s swinging whether we fight back or not.

My husband and I have seen so many couples that we looked up to in the “marriage department” end up divorced. You know those couples you admired when you first got married? It shows just how vulnerable all are.

But I’ve realized we’re only weak in the areas we neglect. Just like a boxer must continuously train for his fight, we must do the same. And it’s never too late.

In fact, we’ve also seen couples who were divorced for years, only to be reunited in marriage once again. It wasn’t easy, but it can be done through the grace and the love of God.

Related: How to nurture your marriage when its strong so it stays that way!

Remember Your Original Vision

What do you want for your marriage? A spouse who’s your best friend? A spouse who works to make your life better, easier, and happier? One who understands you, or at least tries to?

What kind of relationship do you want with your children? Children who respect you? Children who ask your advice and guidance before their friends or their iPad? Children who are kind and have a positive vision for their future beyond the school years in front of them?

If we search our hearts we’ll find those visions we once had for our family. The ones we had when we said, “I do,” and when we held our newborns for the first time.

We naively think we get to experience those visions and desires simply because we want them. Maybe that was true in times passed, but not now.

Today, we have to get dirty and take out our earrings and fight for our marriage and for our kids.

Good things don’t “just happen.” And neither do bad things. We’re either fighting or throwing in the towel.

Related: 21 Questions to Ask to stop fighting and start communicating

4 strategies for winning the fight for your family

Strategy #1: Hit’em with the jab of sacrifice.

As with any fight, you don’t win with the knockout punch at the end. You win with the many well-placed jabs at the start of the fight – wearing down your opponent. And this jab is the most damaging. In order to win the fight for your family, you first must be willing to sacrifice yourself.

When I was about 12 or 13 years old, I started my crazy teenage years. I was skipping school, getting into trouble when I was at school and was no longer respecting my mom’s authority in the house. I’m not proud of that fact, but it was true.

All my life, I was a military brat and moved all over the world. My dad was a high ranking officer in the Navy and served most of his days out to sea on the aircraft carriers he was in charge of leading. He had a great career and an even more promising one ahead of him, but when he heard of the trouble I was in he decided he needed to make a change.

He transferred to a position that allowed him to work on the base full-time. He wanted to be home to take an active role in raising us. And watching over me. And this is a sacrifice you don’t often see dads making in our society.

My mom also chose to remain a stay-at-home mom so she could be home when my sister and brother got home from school. She tried her best to be present and involved in our lives. I thank God for my unselfish parents who worked hard to give us the best life.

Related: How to Complacency Proof Your Marriage and Family

Strategy #2: Duck from the Haters

When you step out to do anything out of the ordinary there will be haters and online trolls lining up to say something. We’ve got to be willing to do anything and everything to keep our families thriving and strong. And people (even your extended family, friends, co-workers) won’t always get it. And may even try to talk you out of your plan.

That’s because people don’t like different. People don’t like radical. But let me say, radical change is necessary in the times we live in.

Maybe radical for you is choosing to forgo your quiet comfort in order to be the fun house where your kids’ friends can come hang out instead of your kids going out all the time. Or maybe it’s deciding to homeschool your children as you’re led by God.

Whatever you choose for your family, duck fast when you see those criticisms, comments, and unsolicited opinions heading your way!

Strategy #3: Pray

Prayer is like oxygen blowing on a flame. It fuels the fire on the inside to do whatever it takes and not take on a passive stance like so many today.

Prayer heals the hurt, exchanges hope for disappointment, and lessens the blow of offense. It’s the daily power that keeps you in the fight.

It keeps your heart and eyes from being deceived into believing that your spouse and children are the enemy. Prayer keeps your weapon locked and loaded on the real enemy – Satan.

Having a regular quiet time allows you the time to be still and pray. Learn how to jumpstart your own quiet time in my blog post: How to jumpstart a life-transforming quiet time routine.

Strategy #4: Become what you desire

Remember earlier when I asked you what kind of marriage and family life you want? But there was a question I didn’t ask. What kind of spouse/parent are you willing to become? If we want our spouse to be kinder and more gentle with us, are we providing the model for that desired behavior?

If we want our children to be more respectful, are we providing the model of a respectful person? If we want a more fun family life, are we becoming a more relaxed and fun person?

We need to become skilled in becoming what we desire in other people. It’s easy to look at what others aren’t doing right, and forget about our own faults.

Whether your family is happy and strong or struggling; use these strategies to get in the fight. Don’t give up on your family, and NEVER be passive. There’s always a level higher than where you are. You just have to reach up and grab it. And throw a few jabs along the way!

Leave a comment and share where you are and what strategies you’ve used in difficult times. We all need support and encouragement from others!

End Your Toddler’s Temper Tantrum Quickly with These Simple Steps!

toddler tantrum tips

Toddler temper tantrums can happen in a split second and can be caused by many different reasons. But the resulting cause every single time is frustration and even embarrassment when your sweet little angel decides to unleash her reign of terror in public.

That’s why I believe we as parents should work to skillfully play offense with our kids instead of pounding it out on the defensive line. There, I sounded like I know what I’m talking about with football. My husband would be so proud!

How to stop a temper tantrum

Basically what I mean is, working on the front end to prevent temper tantrums in the first place instead of working so hard to stop them when they happen. Yes, it’s really possible!

That’s why created this first post, Easily Prevent Your Toddler’s Temper Tantrums with These Fool-Proof Tips, and I recommend you read it first. Unless, you’re in the midst of a tantrum right now and in that case, please read on!

However, even when you do all these things to help prevent tantrums, chances are, one or more will still happen. Here are some easy and effective tips to help calm your child and your nerves when your child is in full-on fit mode.

1 – Get on Their Level

No one likes being talked down, including our kids. Toddlers are short and if we want to stop talking down to them, we need to intentionally get down on their level.

Talking to your toddler eye to eye isn’t just helpful during a tantrum but really is how we should be talking to our children every time.

If you ask your little one to do something and you’re getting totally ignored, don’t keep repeating yourself. You’ll only get more frustrated and angry. Simply stop and get down to where they are or bring them up to where you are, and speak to them in a calm and direct tone.

And look them right in their eyes.

This takes some practice, and in the beginning, you’ll most likely be met with aversion and them trying to escape your space. But keep at it. Once they realize you’re no longer going to be towering over them barking demands, they’ll begin to respond positively.

Doing this ensures they’ve actually heard you and also makes them focus. This practice is extremely effective with my toddler son. And talking to him from across the room almost never works.

And one more thing, talking to anyone in this way is a sign of respect. It shows them they’re important and deserve your full attention. This really goes a long way.

Think about the last time someone talked to you while staring at their phone. Feel ignored much?

Related: 50 Ways to Make Your Child Feel Loved in their Own Love Language

2 – Give them a Firm Hug

I know, I know giving your little tornado of terror a hug in the middle of a tantrum is probably the last thing you’d want to do. And you’re probably thinking it’s equally as ineffective. (source)

I dare you to give it a try the next time your toddler goes into fit-mode. Not a warm and fuzzy hug, though. Give them a close, firm and disarming hug.

Think of it like those weighted blankets that help people overcome night-anxiety or how swaddling a baby helps them feel safe.

Pulling your toddler close when they’re acting out is like yelling I Love You to your husband in the middle of an argument… it’s a pattern interrupt.

It’s also a lot more effective than walking away, yelling, or punishing them for their tantrum.

3 – Lower Your Voice

This tactic pretty much works for any human interaction with conflict. If you’re talking to an angry person, the least effective thing to do is elevate your voice too.

Instead, lowering your voice to one that is calm, confident, and firm is the perfect way to talk to your angry toddler. NEVER, yell! I know this can be really hard.

But it’s really only a way to release your own frustrations but it in no way helps the situation get any better and really just models that yelling and emotional outbursts are OK.

Also, toddlers can be really sensitive and will often hold onto your anger.

Try these practical tips to get your kids to listen without yelling and the corresponding regret. 

3 – Control Your Own Anger

Here’s where things can get a little sticky because when our toddler isn’t listening, talking back, or having an outright tantrum it’s really easy to allow our emotions to go into overdrive.

When our emotions are in control we’ve more likely to say things that aren’t helpful, add to the problem or things we don’t mean and will regret. So when your little one is acting out, always take a breath before you say anything or make any parenting decisions.

As silly as this may sound, take a couple slow and deep breaths or count to ten in your head. This serves as a reminder to you that you’re the parent and you’re the one in control – not your toddler.

Then decide how you want to handle the situation. Just remember, that once you open your mouth and say something, you need to stick by it.

If you say to your child that if he runs through the clothing racks at Target again, he isn’t going to get that cookie he asked for. And you can’t go back on that… ever! No matter if you went too harsh with your punishment and feel guilty.

Take a moment to think first and don’t act out of your own emotions.

4 – Get Outta There!

If you’re in a public place, get out as fast as you can. It’s obviously great for all the innocent bystanders and just plain good manners. But it also resets the location and works to interrupt their tirade.

Just a few words to consider while you’re running out of Wal-Mart. Stay calm and take this time to breathe and count, NOT to yell, complain, and yank your kid’s arm off.

I know this is easier said than done. I’ve screwed this one up many times. But modeling calm behavior is SUPER important!

5  – Hear Them to Understand

Remember, tantrums are a form of communication. Not the best, but communication none the less. If your child’s form of getting their way is a tantrum or if tantrums are a way of life in your home, I would strongly suggest reading this post.

This is a sign that your child hasn’t learned a more appropriate way of sharing their feelings. And this behavior isn’t likely to go away on its own as they get older. I have witnessed many shocking tantrums in public with older kids berating their parents. #Sad

This occurs when children aren’t taught how to properly communicate and haven’t been shown that this is unacceptable behavior. Or at least, they haven’t in the right way.

However, on the occasion tantrums or angry displays of emotion do happen and this is where we need to do our best to find the source and help them work through it with compassion.

Related: 9 Things Your Kids Wishes You’d Do but Doesn’t Know How to Tell You

6 – Stay Firm and Do NOT Bargain

Never, ever bargain with a child! If you were headed to get ice cream and needed to make one last stop at the store and your child starts misbehaving, give her a firm warning that she won’t be having any ice cream if she doesn’t stop NOW.

If she doesn’t listen, no more ice cream. Period.

They may cry, beg, and try to bait you into a bargaining session, but you Must. Stand. Firm.

7 – Keep Your Language Positive

As tempting as it is to unleash your true feelings of frustration and call it like you see it, do your best to reign it in. Calling your son a bad boy over and over isn’t going to fix the problem.

I’ve witnessed name calling from parents many times and it rips my heart out because they just don’t know how powerful their words are and the impact they make.

Our words have power and calling your son a “bad boy” is actually making a declaration that your son is bad. Certainly not what you really want to accomplish.

I always work to speak what I desire to see in my children, my life, and my family. Our words have creative ability and have the power to change our circumstances.

In Romans 4:17, it says to “call those things that do not exist as though they did.”

Instead, try saying something like, “you are a good boy, so let’s start showing it.”

Do you have some effective strategies to stop your toddler’s tantrums? We love to hear it! Please share in the comments below!

Related: How to use Your Words to Raise Brave and Vision Focused Kids

If you find yourself smack dab in the middle of a toddler temper tantrum and feel your own tantrum coming on... try these tips to stop that tantrum in it's tracks! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #parenting101 #kids #momlifeThese simple and highly effective steps will help you defuse and end your toddler's temper tantrum fast! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parenting101 #parentingtips #momlife Toddler temper tantrums are hard to deal with. But with these simple steps, you can end your toddler's tantrum fast! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #kids #toddler

9 Things Your Kid Wishes You’d Do But Doesn’t Know How to Tell You

9 things you kid wishes you would do

Kids are honest. They tell us the brutal truth in almost every situation. Like when you wake up with a lovely zit right on your forehead and your kid feels the need to point it out to you at their first waking moment, as if you didn’t already know.

They haven’t formed their filter yet and so children have a way of telling it like it is. Which isn’t a bad thing, you just gotta be ready for it when it comes.

9 things you kid wishes you would do

But there are some things our kids don’t always tell us. Things they should but don’t have the capacity to find the words. Or they just have no idea how to tell you. These are things they desperately need us to do for them, that often times go unmet. Tough, right?

These are the things that children wish their parents knew, so we could easily be equipped to meet their unsaid needs.

This is a sticky situation for both the kids who need them and the parents who unknowingly fail to deliver.

That’s why I created this list. To help moms like you and me shift our focus just a bit because parenting is hard and complicated and we all miss it from time to time. Until we watch an inspirational video or read a post online that hits us between the eyes and helps us get where we always wanted to be.

This has happened to me a million times since becoming a mom over a decade ago.

Related: The Secret to Raising Happy and Confident Teens in an Image Focused World

9 Things Your Kid Really Needs

We have the power to meet our children’s deepest felt needs with purpose and intention. When these needs go unmet for long periods in a growing child, it leaves a deep hole that they desperately look to fill with something or someone else.

If you read this list and feel that you’ve been missing one or a few needs, please don’t feel discouraged, judged, or condemned. Just take intentional action to reconnect with your kids in that area. The wonderful thing about children is their resiliency and their ability to forgive without question.

You may also read this list and think, these are no-brainers. Well, congratulations you’re probably a fantastic parent. But take a moment and look around at your kid’s school, at their soccer games, and dance recitals. Talk to many of your children’s friends. You’ll quickly see these aren’t happening for every child as they should.

We need to get it out there and talk about it. Not so we can be finger-pointers and parent shamers, but to shine a light on what’s lacking in this world. And how we as moms can make such a huge difference in this world through the gift and privilege of motherhood.

When we raise happy, resilient, and kind adults… we’ve made a tremendous impact in this world! And that’s what this list is all about.

Now let’s find out where we are…

1 – Love Them Intentionally

What does it mean to love someone intentionally? It means to give thought and purpose to how we actively show love to another person, in this case, our kids. It’s not enough to love them by providing a good home and sending them to a good school. Our kids need much more than that.

Money is the smallest thing our kids need from us… even though it doesn’t always feel that way. Parents, myself included, tend to work our fingers to the bone to give them a better life. In the end, our kids aren’t looking for that alone. Sure, they want their basic needs met and, yes, kids love asking for and spending money. Whew! I know mine do!

But what they really need is for us to lovingly learn who they are and how they need to be loved. That’s where the power and beauty of love languages come in. If you know your child’s love language it can make all the difference.

Simply showing up and taking an interest in what your child loves can go so far… even when their interest is gross, boring to you, or just plain annoying. Because sometimes they just are!

 

2 – Be Present and Pay Attention

This is a really huge need for children and doesn’t go away as we become adults. There are many adults in marriages where the spouse provides a good home, puts food on the table, but isn’t really there. When your spouse doesn’t make any attempt to connect with you, it hurts deeply. I know because I’ve seen it happen.

It’s the very same with kids. They want you there physically but much more, they want you there emotionally. My daughter played soccer for a couple years and she was really good and it was fun watching my little girl dominate the field with both girls and boys. During this time, I saw a lot of different parents on the sidelines.

One in particular stuck out to me. There was a little boy who obviously played soccer for many years and was very good. He would ferociously kick the ball into the goal again and again like he was in the World Cup. The crowd would cheer and you could see him immediately look where his parents were sitting to catch their approval and instead would repeatedly see his parents walking around talking on their cell phones… never looking at the field.

When I’d look back at that child, every time you could see the disappointment in his eyes. Though we could applaud his parents for both being there physically, we can see that week after week they weren’t really there.

In this amazing article, there was a study done of College athletes that asked them what their parents contributed to making them feel joy during and after their games. The answer will shock you.

It showed the power in 6 words a parent can say that can make ALL the difference, ” I love to watch you play.” Wow! That’s it! Parenting can feel complicated and overwhelming at times, but our kids are really as simple as needing us to just show up.

3 – Support Them No Matter Their Choices

I know my Type-A moms are wincing back at this one. Stay with me for a second… please. I didn’t say “accept” all their choices, I said to support them no matter what their choices are. Support your child, not the choices.

Life is hard and we all need a support system. We also all make mistakes and miss the mark from time to time. And it’s really hard to live life feeling like when we make a bad choice or totally screw up, that our support system is always in jeopardy.

Sure, it sucks to have a kid that can’t seem to get it together or a teenager or young adult that looks on the surface like a total disappointment despite how you raised them. I know this because I was that screw-up kid. I was an angry, hurt, and messed up kid for a lot of reasons I can’t get into here. But the one thing my parents did was support me every step of the way. NEVER my awful choices… ME.

How did they do this? By always keeping their loving doors open, never shaming me even when it was justified, and praying incessantly for me. They never gave up on me. And though my parents weren’t perfect, I always knew I was loved. And they taught me about Jesus who loved me unconditionally. And that was what I believe made all the difference in turning my life around.

4 – Say No And Give Them Borders

Yes, I said it. Our kids need us to say no and they need us to give them safe and healthy borders. Kids that have parents that say yes to almost anything, even the questionable things, are telling their kids they don’t care about them.

It’s true. Though your kid may be kicking and screaming because they can’t go to the slumber party at Amy’s house, they know way under the surface that you care. That might not be helpful right at the moment, but it’s the hardest decisions of love that linger the longest.

In this crazy, upside down world we live in, I say NO a lot. I don’t really have a choice because I love my children. And it’s my job to protect and lead them through the tough choices and teach them how to make better decisions. For example, at my daughter’s sixth-grade orientation last year, her teacher mentioned a tip about taking your child’s phone and keeping it in your bedroom at night.

At the time, I’d never thought of this because my daughter never gave me a reason. I’m so glad I heard this tip because it made me see the importance of simple ways I can remove the opportunity for her to be accessed at all hours of the night. It’s unnecessary and has the potential to be dangerous.

I treat social media accounts the same way. Our children don’t need unfettered access to unfiltered content on social media at very young ages. You can read more on why here.

Creating borders helps your child know how to place healthy borders for themselves later on.

5 – Let Them Live Their Purpose

I believe every person born on this planet has a God-given purpose. A purpose that was given to them by their creator. We may have grown them in our wombs, but God gave them life and purpose. We need to honor the gifts they’ve been given and help them grow in them.

Our kids need us to tell them they are special and unique and even when they’re scared and feel totally unqualified. That they need to discover and pursue their purpose with passion and intention.

Too often parents want their kids to pass on the family business, whatever that may be. Or to choose a more “sensible” profession instead of the one in their dreams. And I’m talking about when they’re older and not their dream of becoming a princess or Superman.

We often try to create a life plan for our kids without ever considering they already have one. Our job as parents is to help them find it and to embrace it.

There are millions of depressed, suicidal, and hopeless adults who were pressured to pursue a “sensible” career that was totally outside of their purpose. And though they may have attained success in the world’s eyes… they feel empty. Though we may not understand it, we owe it to our kids to lead them into their purpose instead of away from it.

Related: How to Naturally Lead Your Child to Their Purpose

6 – Discipline Them

Just like our kids need to be told no, they also need and want to be disciplined. The Bible teaches that we discipline those we love. There’s so much truth to that. Discipline isn’t necessarily punishment, it’s the intentional act of shaping and molding into the right behavior. And that takes work and compassion.

It doesn’t require love to want someone who’s done something terrible to face punishment. But it does require love to allow them to face that punishment while teaching and guiding them into the right behavior.

We don’t want to discipline our kids with the “rot in jail and throw away the key” mentality. Yes, punishment and consequences are all a part of the discipline process because that’s what prepares them for real life. But it’s also the compassionate and sometimes time-consuming teaching of the right behavior that makes all the difference and shows how much we love our child.

Related: How to Get Your Kids to Listen Without Yelling

7 – Give Them One on One Time

Tricia Goyer shared this concept from her book Balanced: Finding Center as a Work-at-Home Mom. It was so simple, yet profound. But it does require endurance on your part. And it’s an investment of your time, depending on how many children you have! Yet, it’s time well spent.

If your spouse and your children each have your undivided “eyes only” attention each day, it sends a powerful message to them – YOU Matter. And there’s no revelation more powerful than that. Try carving out small 10 minutes times for each person, each day. And then work your way up as you develop discipline in this habit.

Here are my kids and I playing at the park after a very long day. But our sacrifices go a really long way!

8 – Give Them Independence

Kids need space and independence to grow and learn how to make good choices. This may seem to be in opposition to “be present” but it isn’t. Giving your child independence simply means allowing them to work things out on their own… with your guidance.

This teaches them about how their actions have both positive and negative consequences. And as they get older they need to be able to safely make both good and bad choices. You’ll find that in doing this they learn to self-correct at a much faster rate than us always doing it for them.

Just remember to give large doses of grace as they will make mistakes!

9 – Embrace and Love Their Uniqueness

In this “fit in or get out” world we need to be intentional about embracing our children’s uniqueness. Our kids need us to affirm that though their uniqueness makes them stand out, it’s that uniqueness that makes them special.

As a child’s minister years ago, I taught my kids that it feels uncomfortable to stand out and be different. And we have this desire to blend in with what the world says is beautiful, talented, or cool.

But I asked them to think about the biggest stars and icons in the entertainment industry and describe what makes them more of a star than all the other entertainers. And the majority of the answers were… the biggest stars worked very hard to stand out and be different.

Think of Lady GaGa and Michael Jackson. Their biggest claim to fame is doing what no one else has done before… to produce a sound no one else has heard before. That takes guts, confidence, and the ability to fully embrace their uniqueness.

As parents, this is probably the hardest thing to do. But no matter how many times you tell your daughter her curls are beautiful or that your son’s bright red hair is amazing, and they brush it off… keep saying it. Until they believe it.


I hope this list gives you some inspirations on ways to be more connected with your kids. Let’s face it, we all fall short of hitting these perfectly – especially in busy seasons.

Perfection is the enemy of progress and it’s better to be aware and make changes than to try for perfection any day. What are your thoughts on this list? Did I miss anything? Please add in the comments below!

Parenting can be hard and sometimes we miss the important things. This list reveals the things your kid needs the most that they don't know how to tell you. #parenting #kidsandparenting #momadvice #momlife #kidsIt's very easy to get distracted on the wrong parenting priorities, this list helps to remind us of the most important and often surprising things our kids really need! #kidsandparenting #parenting #momlife #mom #kidsEvery child has real physical needs and emotional needs. Too often we are busy meeting the urgent needs and forgetting the most important needs of all. Find out what they are here! #kidsandparenting #parenting #kids #momadvice #familyThe most important things your children really needs isn't something they usually know how to even ask for. Get the list to see how you're doing! #kidsandparenting #parenting #momlife #kids

All children and people have needs but there are deeply felt needs that all children have that we should work to understand and meet for our children.

Why Moms Yelling At Their Kids Isn’t the Problem – and What Is

There are tons of articles floating around the internet telling moms how and why they should stop yelling at their kids. And while I’ll admit I’m one of many bloggers who’ve written on this topic – I want to set the record straight.

 

Personally, I struggled a lot in my early years as a mom with getting my kids to listen without yelling or constant nagging.

That’s why I simply don’t believe the yelling is the problem. If our kids don’t listen without the shock of a yell from us or needing to be reminded a hundred times, our system isn’t working.

It’s not the yelling that needs fixing, it’s the system!

And a lot of the parenting advice today can leave moms feeling hopeless for why they can’t control their own temper or why they can’t figure out how to get their kid’s attention without yelling.

If that’s you, know you’re NOT alone and you’re NOT a bad mom!

Moving right along…

Related: How to Really Get Your Kids to Listen

All Moms Yell at Some Point

Yelling happens to all moms at some point. I don’t know a mom who’s never lost her cool. If that’s you, I’ve seriously got to meet you and sincerely shake your hand.

The cold, hard truth is motherhood can be painfully hard some days. And when we combine the behavioral issues of our kids, our own emotional challenges and seriously crappy days – yelling seems like an inevitable occurrence.

In my early days as a mom, I probably yelled at my kids at least once every day. Sometimes my yelling was just high energy talking like when we’d be running late and I needed to announce it upstairs to the whole house at once. Let’s go!!

But other times I yelled when I was angry like when my kids would start arguing in the living room over what to watch on Netflix and start wrestling over the remote. 

In the beginning, it all seemed normal. When I yelled, it always got everyone’s attention and made me feel like I was doing a better job than simply taking a passive approach. 

I felt proud of the fact that my kids were always some of the most well behaved kids in the room. I always got compliments and comments about how respectful my children were, even when they were just toddlers. 

What people didn’t see was, I was using yelling as part of my parenting strategy. A strategy that gets results but doesn’t last. One that required ME to make it work. 

This overwhelm and exhaustion only perpetuated my yelling and anger. It was like I was angry because I had to yell in order to get anything done. 

I’m convinced that if there was a way to measure the stress hormones surging through my body in those days, mine would’ve been off the charts! I was always running on a 10 and found it very hard to be in a state of calm or ever be relaxed or playful with my kids.

Click below to get my FREE guide that shows you how to quickly identify surprising mom anger triggers and how to calm down before losing it!

What’s Really Behind All The Yelling

I didn’t really want to yell or scream at my kids. But at the time, I felt like it was my only option and was my go-to method that always gave me that quick win.

I wished there was a way I could talk to my kids like Claire Huxtable who always knew just what to say to get her kids to listen, teach a valuable life lesson, and make a priceless connection with her kids – all after a long day at the office. 

What I didn’t know at the time was my communication process with my kids was broken and that parenting like Claire wasn’t a total work of fiction.

The problem with yelling all the time is it hinders our ability to truly connect to the heart of our children. Think about if you yelled at your spouse all the time when they got on your nerves. Instead of communicating in a more respectful way you just yelled and nagged.

Or what if your partner was the yeller and lost it every time they didn’t like the way you did something. Hmm. I bet there wouldn’t be a lot of intimacy happening.

It’s the same with our kids. When we’re angry and yelling, it sends negative and fear-laden messages to our brain about the source of our anger. Who just happens to be our kids. 

Yelling also sends fear signals to our kids’ brains and studies have shown that yelling also has damaging effects to their brains and overall development.

When you combine how yelling makes us feel and how it makes our kids feel – it really hinders our ability to have a close, intimate, and even playful relationship with our children.

Again, let me emphasize that yelling here and there isn’t likely to be a problem. What I’m talking about here is a lifestyle of yelling.

Related: Surprising reasons moms really yell

What We Need to Ask Ourselves

If you find yourself yelling on a daily basis, I want to encourage you to take a moment to ask yourself why. 

Are you dangling at the end of your rope? 

Are you stressed and exhausted beyond anything you’ve experienced? 

Do you need a better way to get your kids to be self-motivated and listen without you needing to yell? 

Is there a source of unresolved anger that’s bubbling under the surface?

Only you know the answer to those questions and only you know if you need and want to change. It’s not my place or anyone else’s to tell you that you have a problem or need to change.

You’re smart and capable enough to decide that for yourself.

I made my own decision to change because I didn’t like how I felt as a mom anymore. I didn’t read a parenting article that told me I should stop yelling. I just felt inside that there was a better way for me and my family.

What You Probably Don’t Know About Yelling

Yelling is two things…

The first is something I didn’t know early on. And that is yelling is a reinforcer of the behavior we don’t want. Yep. Every time we yell and our kids finally jump up and do what we ask, we‘ve reinforced that ineffective pattern of behavior.

We’re essentially training our kids to only listen and obey when we yell. In fact, I used to say that to my kids when I was annoyed… “you guys are training me to yell more because you don’t listen until I yell.” 

Sure, I was just venting my frustration, but the truth was they weren’t training me… I was training them! 

The second thing is that yelling is more about us and how we’re feeling in the moment than it is about our kids and what they’re doing in the moment. 

Imagine your spouse just came home and gave you the devastating news that his position is being phased out of his company and he’ll be getting laid off next month. 

Suddenly, you’re heart starts racing and you’re flooded with high levels of anxiety, fear, frustration, and maybe even anger at the situation. You walk into the kitchen to get a glass of water and you’re jolted when see your 4-year-old decided to take his older sister’s giant pack of colored sharpies and make a mural on the kitchen wall. 

How do you think you’d react to the wall and your son in that moment? What would you say? What would you do? Do you think you’d be yelling or screaming?

Now let’s change that scenario up a bit. Let’s say your husband came home and announces that he’s finally been given the dream promotion he’s been working on for two years. 

 

His salary and bonuses will be increasing significantly and you can finally move out of your cramped house and into the neighborhood you’ve both been eyeing for over a year. 

 

You’re elated and filled with a renewed sense of hope. As you bounce into the kitchen for a drink of water you suddenly notice your son’s art project. 

 

How do you think you’d react to the wall and your son now? Is it a much different reaction from the first one? Do you think yelling and screaming would be involved? Or do you think you might even have a sense of humor about it. 

 

I’ve seen many awful messes made by toddlers whose moms decided to make a video and post it on social media. I’ve always thought, “she must have been in a fantastic mood when that happened!

Seriously, the BEST News Ever!

Now that we know what yelling is… let’s talk about what yelling is NOT. Yelling is not something that has to control you. We get to decide.

 

If yelling is more about us and NOT our kids… that means we have the power to control the only thing we can control… us. 

 

We can’t make our kids behave differently, make better choices, or do everything just the way we want it. That’s the definition of owning a robot. And if you’ve been a parent beyond 5 minutes, you know there’s no off switch or mute button!

 

That said, we can take courage to make a change within ourselves. One that allows us to learn easier ways to get our kids to really listen without all the yelling and constant reminding (yes, it’s possible!) And one that helps us manage our emotions in a healthy way. 

 

This is the work I did for myself. I got very honest with myself and asked God to help me through this process. And He did. I surrendered my guilt, frustrations, and my pride before God and decided that it was time I committed to doing the work I needed in order to change. 

 

And make no mistake about it, this was WORK. God gave me the grace, but I had to walk through the hard stuff for several years while making all the mistakes until I made it to a place that feels like peace. 

 

I can’t express the gratitude that I feel for giving myself permission to be brave to go somewhere I was terrified to go. 

 

I still get mad, irritated, and yell from time to time. I’m human and those old instincts still come out if I can stressed and tired. 

The difference for me is I know exactly how to calm my nerves in those anger-inducing moments. I’ve done it for so long, I even surprise myself sometimes!

But the most priceless gift is having kids who truly listen to me and the relationship I’ve been able to build with each one of them. 

Less Yelling is Just a Happy By-Product

If you’re feeling stuck in a cycle of yelling and can’t figure it out… it’s time to do some work. That’s because you don’t have to yell unless you really want to. 

NOT yelling shouldn’t be your focus. There’s always an underlying cause that needs more attention.

You can become a mom that’s calmer and more playful than you’ve been in a long time. 

One who’s not burnt out and overwhelmed to your max. 

If I can do it… you can do it.

Yelling less at our kids is simply a by-product of fixing the actual problem!

If you’re a mom who’s stuck and feels alone… please hear me now. You are NOT alone! You are NOT a bad mom. And you do NOT need to spend your days in guilt and frustration. There is freedom for you. 

You can start your journey to a calmer way of life by grabbing your free copy of The Calm Mom Formula! It will teach you how to start training your brain and understanding your anger triggers.

 

How have you overcome anger? Share your tips in the comments below. Or share your biggest struggles and questions and I’ll be sure to answer them below!

With all the advice telling moms to stop yelling at their kids, I believe this is bad advice for moms. Why? Because there's something huge that's missing when we say to moms to just stop and calm down. Here's what moms should focus on instead... #kidsandparenting #momanger #parentingtips

How to Get Your Kids to Listen Without Yelling and All the Regret

How to get your kids to listen without yelling

Ever wonder how to get your kids to listen without yelling? I know, it’s frustrating! But this simple strategy really helps to get your kids to listen without screaming your head off. You have to work it… but it really works! 

I’m not talking about when you shout upstairs for your kiddos to get in the car because you’re running late for school for the third time this week.

How to get your kids to listen without yelling

Or when your 12-year-old’s friend who lives down the block stops by and you kindly let her (and the whole house) know to come downstairs. I’m kind of loud in general… maybe you are too.

I’m talking about when your toddler decides to morph into Captain America for the hundredth time this week and starts throwing his shield across the living room and you kindly ask him to stop. At which he shows no visible signs of hearing and therefore you remind him again a little louder this time. 

Bam!  The shield slams into your wall once again and there goes your sanity and here comes the yelling.

This was me… every single day for years.

I knew something had to change because I wasn’t enjoying being a mom which I knew wasn’t right because I loved being a mom. But I just couldn’t figure out how to break the vicious cycle of yelling and regret.

Then through prayerful observation and help from my husband who could see what was going on all along, I saw that I was the cause of this cycle – not my kids. And that’s what I want to share with you in this post.

Do I still have a set-back every now and then and yell at my kids in anger? Sure, but those are infrequent and much less than they used to be. If you find yourself losing your temper frequently with your kids, I strongly encourage you to read and try these tips.

They really do work!

Why Yelling Doesn’t Get Your Kids to Listen

The first step to getting your kids to listen when you’re disciplining is to not be angry. Feels impossible, right?

I mean, sure they “hear” you, but our goal is for them to listen which isn’t the same thing.

Even if you need to step away, it’s important to release or control your personal frustration before diving right in. That’s because disciplining when you’re angry undermines your authority.

I’ve come to learn something along the way. Yelling really never worked, and kids lose respect for yelling parents. 

I thought it was working because when I talked normally, no one ever moved. Until I broke out in a nice yell. That’s only partially true because they simply learned to respond to the yelling.

Not only does disciplining when you’re angry undermine your authority, but you’re also teaching your child how to have loose and untamed emotions by watching you. Ouch!

Yelling like a lunatic and saying hurtful things to your children can have lasting consequences. And whether they tell you or not… those words run deep.

Our yelling is really more about us than it is about them.

This is so, so important for us as parents to let sink in. When we get overwhelmed at the situation and break out into a yelling fit we are acting no different than our toddler who drops to the floor in a temper tantrum.

And when we feel tempted to have a mommy tantrum… we need to give ourselves a mommy timeout.

This is really important to allow us to cool down so we don’t let our emotions take over and do or say something we’ll most certainly regret. And need to apologize for!

Lax Parenting is your Enemy

Lax parenting – without firm and consistent boundaries – opens the door to being challenged by your child at some point… really every point.

And we have the tendency be most lax when all is well and we’re having a stress-free day. Little things get overlooked over and over again. We’re afraid to make any adjustments so we don’t rock this peaceful boat we’re in.

For example, you’re in the grocery store with your toddler and things are going great. #MomWin

He asks if he can walk, and since you only had to run in for a couple things (another #MomWin) you let him walk.

In a nano-second, he starts to touch things. He’s just touching and not knocking things over… so what’s the big deal you tell yourself. Deep down, you’re terrified to do anything to end this no-chaos bliss thing happening. So you don’t tell him to stop.

But wait!! Here’s the kicker, he’s just mentally and physically recorded that it’s ok to touch stuff at the store.

Fast forward to your next trip to the store when you need to grab a cart full of stuff (no #MomWin). To top it off, your son didn’t get a full nap today and you’re so exhausted you think you might need glasses.

This time your son reaches out to grab and pull down every item he can get his hands on. You’re embarrassed, frustrated, and headed for a melt-down.

The key to setting boundaries is making them consistent. In the Good Times AND in the Bad! They need to know what to expect EVERY single time.

The Importance of Staying Consistent

Children desperately need consistency to learn. Not only do they need to know what to except, but that expectation you need shouldn’t change every day of the week. And we can’t be wishy-washy.

I use to be the Queen of the Threat. I’d rattle off statements like, “Do you want to go into Timeout?” or “Do you want a spanking?”

When in reality, I didn’t plan on following through. I was banking on the “threat” doing its job. But the truth is, our kids are just too smart for that. They can see right through our weakness. I think they can smell it too!

Inconsistent or nonexistent consequences do nothing short of undermining our integrity and authority.

In short, they learn not to trust what we say.

Here’s a quick tip – make sure to think about the punishment when you’re not emotional. If you rattle off that your teenager is grounded for 6 months… if it doesn’t fit the crime, you’re going to be in a dilemma.

Do I let her off the punishment early or make her stick it out just to prove a point?

Either way isn’t the best scenario.

Firm doesn’t mean harsh.

Not only should our discipline be consistent but it also needs to be firm. They need to know you mean business.

But by the same token, they shouldn’t be afraid of you. I know, this kind of goes against many old-school parenting methods. But instilling fear is never helpful. There’s a clear difference between firm and harsh.

You may feel this is beneficial when your children are small, but as they get older – they need to know you’re there for them.

Think of all the crazy things young people have to deal with in our current times. Having a parent who blows their top over every little thing will keep your child from confiding in you – when they need you and your wisdom the most.

Let me also mention, that when I say harsh I’m not talking about spanking either. Spanking, done in a loving environment, without anger, can be a very effective discipline tool. And should only be done in love. Although it can clearly be misused and over-used.

Harsh discipline is done when we’re angry and led by our disappointment, embarrassment, guilt, or some other emotion. And can happen in every form of discipline from timeouts, lectures, mean words, shaming, and spanking.

The whole point of discipline is to teach our children what’s right and wrong. And we do this out of our love.

Discipline Should Come From Love

We see so much destruction in the news today, and I wonder how many of those individuals had no boundaries in their formative years.

Discipline, done the right way, is an act of love. It’s one way we keep our kids safe.

The Bible provides so much practical wisdom on correction and discipline. And the focal point always comes back to love. Proverbs 3:11-12 

It’s our job, really our privilege, to shape our children’s lives in a positive way. Giving them the best possible chance at life by teaching them the proper way to conduct themselves.

I want to emphasize here that the actual form of discipline and punishment you choose is not as important as being consistent and doing what you say.

Not only that, but each child is different and will respond differently to various forms of discipline such as timeouts, removal of privileges, and so on. There is no cookie-cutter formula that’ll work for every kid.

This is an on-going process and one where we need to fully depend on the Grace of God to do well. And rest in that same Grace when we miss it because we all do!

Do you have some tried and trusted methods for getting your kids to listen? Share them in the comments below! We’d love to hear them!

Tired of having to nag and yell to get your kids to listen to you? There's a better and much more enjoyable way to get your kids to listen the first time! Read to learn how to get your sanity back. #kidsandparenting #parenting #motherhood
Getting your kids to listen without yelling is easier than you think. There are simple things we must do and be consistent to see amazing results!

7 Surprising Reasons You Yell at Your Kids and How to Break the Cycle

As a new mom of two little ones I spent my days cycling through being a happy and grateful mom to an angry yelling “blowing her top” mom, to an ashamed and guilty for yelling at my kids mom.

As the days went on the cycles got more frequent, the happy and grateful mom showed up much less often and I ended up trapped in a sad and paralyzing state of tired, grouchiness.

I snapped very often, my demeanor was pretty uptight most of the time, and I felt like a complete and total failure as a mom. Until one day it hit me and I asked myself, “why am I such an angry mom?

This certainly wasn’t what I thought motherhood was going to be like. I dreamed of being a mom and though we struggled through infertility for almost 5 years, I was overjoyed to bring our first child into this world.

Then the reality of mom life showed up… and my idea of motherhood didn’t seem to fit my reality of motherhood.

It was hard for me.

And the fact that is was hard for “me” the mom whose dream it was to even be a mom, was pretty devastating. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was in over my head and felt consumed with shame all the time.

Why Good Moms Get Angry

I finally decided this craziness needed to stop. I genuinely wanted to have fun as a mom and have a close and fulfilling relationship with my children. So I got to work.

With loads of prayer, study, and tons of trial and error I’m now at a place in my life where I LOVE being a mom and actually feel like I’m pretty good at it! But that only changed when I stopped letting dysfunctional behavior patterns just happen, and started getting intentional about changing them.

One of the first things I learned (HUGE!) were my anger triggers. Little did I know, I was setting anger traps for myself every single day. And that’s what this post is about… helping you to set yourself up for those good, no-blow up days!

Now, let me be clear here, I did a lot of work in the process of healing from mental and emotional lies and past hurts that were greatly contributing to my overall anger. This is not an overnight process.

Recognizing my triggers for yelling was just a part of the puzzle but helped tremendously! Doing these things won’t likely be a total solution to why you are yelling at your kids but they are vitally important to an overall anger management solution.

Here are some helpful posts to getting kids to listen and not causing anger in the first place:

Get Your Kids to Listen Without Yelling

How to Respond When Your Child Disobeys on Purpose

Common Parenting Mistakes Any Parent Can Fix

I would also like to add that yelling to be heard or because you tend to be on the louder side of the communication spectrum isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If you just talk louder or are more intense than all your mom friends… that’s totally OK. I personally still fall slightly into this category!

In this post, I’m addressing moms who struggle with anger in this post. The kind where you feel like a horrible mom after. That’s what I wanted to break free from, and you can join me!

Surprising Mom Anger Triggers

These surprising anger triggers are the things we commonly do every day that we’re usually unaware of that can open the door to blow-ups. And as the saying goes, “when we know better… we do better.

If you read this list and notice one or more that you’re doing, I want to encourage you to make a plan to set up borders for yourself to allow yourself the change you desire.

You want to be a more peaceful mom who really enjoys her children or else you wouldn’t still be reading this post! This process is going to take work but you owe it to yourself and your family to give it all you got so you can be the mom you know you really are inside!

1 | Working with Kids in the Room

I’ve been a work from home mom since my first daughter was born. I’m thankful that I’ve been able to work right in my home while raising my kids, but there is a right and a wrong way to do it! Over the years I’ve done crappy work totally because we needed the money and work that I absolutely love – and this rule still holds true either way.

Honestly, I could write an entire post on this topic, so I’ll do my best to keep it brief. Working on your laptop (or whatever work you do) with kids actively in the room is a setup for disaster. Unless you make a very intentional mindset shift.

I can’t tell you how many times I’d be intensely working (head down, eyes on screen) and blow up because I kept getting interrupted again and again. Silly, I know.

After I realized this to be a huge anger trigger for me, I totally shifted how I work. I now get up very early in the morning and do the bulk of my work that needs my full concentration while my kids sleep. This doesn’t have to be how you do it, but find what works for you.

Then, here’s the mindset shift, I make any work that I do work on in the presence of my kids, second to their needs… ALWAYS.

It looks like this – if I’m working (on a less intense work task) and my child asks for a snack, I put my laptop down and get a snack.

If my children break out in a fight-mob in the living room, I put my laptop down and handle the issue. No more, let me finish this really quick… one more minute sweety… stop fighting! Don’t you see I’m working!

By mentally shifting to my kids and not my project as the priority, it totally changes things for me. Sure, I’m not nearly as productive as I used to be when I was putting my work first but I’m so much more peaceful and my kids no longer resent it or try to fight for my attention when they see me working. It’s a total win-win.

2 | Not Setting Boundaries Up Front

One major source of mom blow ups is when our kids don’t listen until we yell. It’s a cycle that doesn’t have to continue.

In fact, yelling undermines our authority because we don’t have to yell to get their attention. One of the biggest reasons our kids do things we don’t like is because they don’t know the boundaries.

Think of behavioral boundaries like physical boundaries. If you told your son he could ride his bike outside until 5:00, chances are, he’ll go exploring beyond where you had in mind. If you caught him riding his bike on the main road, you might be upset.

This really wouldn’t be fair because he wasn’t given a boundary line like, “do not ride your bike past our street.” Now, this doesn’t mean he won’t try to test this boundary but we’ll get to that in the next point.

For now, we need to establish simple boundaries like, “when we play with one game, we need to clean it up before we open another game.”

This keeps us from going into a screaming fit when we walk into the playroom and see every game they own dumped out on the floor after a very exhausting day at work!

There are endless boundaries you can create, but you get the point.

3 | Not Giving Natural Consequences

When we create and effectively and repeatedly communicate our boundaries, we must offer natural consequences when those boundaries are challenged.

And they will be challenged! Your kid isn’t bad when she deliberately disobeys what you just told her. She’s merely testing your resolve and if you’re really telling the truth. Hmmm, think about that for a second.

When we say, “if you don’t pick up your Legos by the time I get back upstairs in five minutes, I’m going to box them up and give them away” and we don’t follow through (if the Legos aren’t cleaned up), we’ve just lied to our child.

And they know it.

This is why giving natural consequences upfront is so important. Don’t give great big threats that you have no intention of doing just to scare them into obedience. This cycle of giving threats and not following through is a recipe for disobedience every day of the week. And your sanity goes right out the window!

Make sure your child clearly knows both the boundary and the consequence to their behavior upfront. If they cross that boundary… that’s where the next point comes in.

4 | Not Keeping Your Word

This is so important to establishing trust with your child. They know when we won’t stick to our word and it’s like blood in the water to a kid.

They aren’t trying to destroy our patience, they’re just trying to figure it all out.

Take a moment to be sure the consequence you’re about to give makes sense and you are willing to dole it out when needed.

Never ever waiver or bargain with your child. This is the key to keeping your peace.

If you’re currently trapped in this cycle, I give you permission to stop right now.

Just know, it’s going to take work and your kids will likely not appreciate your new found change. But over time, they’ll know you mean business and will listen when you talk without needing to yell.

5 | Pouring Out of an Empty Cup

As a mom, we’re in a perpetual state of pouring out. We pour out spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically. We know that’s all a part of the job of mom.

But what we all seem to forget or treat as unimportant is the filling back up part.

We can’t run on empty any more than our car sitting in the driveway can. Sure, we can try but at what cost?

There are harder mom seasons than others, and in the hardest ones, we need to find pockets of rest. But when we’re not caring for a newborn or for 3 kids under the age of 3, things get a bit easier.

And it’s our job to carve out time to rest and recharge because honestly no one else is going to do it for us!

Doing things that recharge you like getting enough rest, exercising consistently, reading purely for enjoyment (audiobooks are great for moms), having a quiet devotional and prayer time, and even time with close friends you can connect with.

Just remember, these things are only effective if you schedule them regularly… not once a year around Mother’s Day.

Sure, it’s wonderful to have a family who shows their appreciation for all you do, but I’m pretty sure that’s a rare occurrence for most moms. The good news is, you can take charge of your own happiness and show appreciation to yourself. You totally need and deserve it!

6 | You Take it All Personally

Kids misbehave and test boundaries… it’s kind of their thing. It’s NOT personal towards you. There may be things we’re doing that contribute to undesired behavior, but it’s not an attack on you.

Kids are tiny humans and whether we believe it or not, they have their own reasons for doing what they do no matter how strange or annoying those things are to us.

I find one of the best ways to get in our kids’ little heads and hearts is to ask questions before we assume what we see is accurate.

One day I was looking for my daughter who was 5 at the time and heard her in her closet. When I turned the corner I almost lost it! There were clothes everywhere!

What looked like a, destroy my closet for no reason type of situation, was actually her attempting to reorganize her wardrobe. She was just doing it the really hard way kids at that age do. Yikes.

I’m grateful that in that moment, I didn’t start yelling and lecturing but mustered up enough self-control to ask what she was doing.

When I realized that she was trying to do something helpful, I dropped down and started to help her. We had a good conversation and I found out that she didn’t like the way I had organized her clothes and she felt like her way would be easier to get ready in the morning faster.

Who am I to argue that?

Even in the moments when our kids are disobedient and rude right to our faces, we must know there is something else at the root. And ironically, they need us most of the time to help them work through their emotions.

Not taking it personally helps us show up and do that.

7 | Not Managing Things Well

When life gets too hectic and I’ve allowed too many things to overtake our family schedule all the important stuff gets pushed to the side.

What’s left is a very messy house, no plan at all for dinner every night, running late for everything, and a mom that’s always on the edge of a meltdown.

I think in many ways, this is the hardest part about being a mom… the managing the home stuff.

It took me a long time to realize that something’s gotta give and I can’t allow our routines to fall by the wayside.

Making sure that the house stays livable and the kids are actually doing their part in keeping the house clean is so important. When the house is filthy, it’s very hard for me to stay in a positive mindset.

And making sure there is a plan for meals that don’t involve giving all my money away in the drive-thru is also super important. Meal planning is both my nemesis and lifesaver. I honestly hate doing it, but it’s the only way to not operate in chaos.

Finally, practicing intentionally leaving with plenty of time totally reduces fits of yelling at my kids. Running late for appointments is such an open door for yelling, tears, and frustration.

Why Moms Get Angry

This is not an exhaustive list of anger triggers. Moms yell at their kids for many reasons, some are not even being addressed here in this post. These are just some anger triggers that I became aware of personally in my own life and from talking to other moms who struggle with anger.

I want to encourage you to observe your life and time with your kids and look for those things that set you off, and do what you can to eliminate them.

The important thing to remember is, you are NOT a bad mother! Simply the fact that you’re reading this to the bottom proves you’re a good mom.

The first thing I learned is that I needed to change, but I couldn’t do it on my own. I am a Christian and knew I needed to surrender my emotions to Christ. I believe surrender is the first step to change. It acknowledges that I can’t do this on my own or I already would have by now.

I then needed to be honest with myself and transparent with others. I stopped being isolated and found out that other moms were struggling with the same issues. There is freedom in openness.

Finally, I made a quality decision to change and become the mom I knew I was meant to be. I apologized a lot to my kids along the way, and now they hardly have memory of those old days. Which means there’s a better life ahead of you that’s free from guilt and shame.

You can do it if it’s what you really want… you just have to decide.

Want to stop feeling like an angry mom and yelling at your kids all the time? These simple tips really helped me find my anger triggers and stop yelling at my kids! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingadvice

The Truth About Mom Guilt and How to Stop it From Running Your Life

The truth about mom guilt and how to stop it from running your life

Mom guilt is the Achilles Heel for mothers! It hits us almost every day and without fail sucks the fun and productivity right out of whatever we’re doing. I don’t know about you but I hate mom-guilt.

We feel guilty when our child struggles with anything. I mean, it’s our fault, right?

We feel guilty when we discipline our child. This hurts me more than it hurts you, we think as tears flow and pouty lips emerge.

The truth about mom guilt and how to stop it from running your life

We feel guilty when we know we’re enabling bad behaviors in our child just to allow a moment of quiet or get more sleep at night.  I’m totally ruining my kid! Why can’t I just be stronger?

We feel guilty when we have our own kind of meltdown and yell at our kids. What can’t I control my emotions?!

We feel guilty when we give time toward our work, goals, and dreams that require us to sacrifice time and energy away from our family. Whether or not we love the work we do or are simply required to work for income. Guilt still finds its way in.

We either regret the things we’ve done or the things we wish we’d done. And the truth is, the cycle continues and won’t stop unless we stop it.

As a mom, you have the hardest job on the planet hands-down. And you should be free to do what you believe is right without having a monkey hanging on your back the whole time. And I’m not talking about your climbing toddler! 😉

When I first became a mom, I was under attack EVERY DAY. I was so frustrated because I never felt free to really enjoy being the mom I always wanted to be. Every mistake was magnified – every failure was all my fault.

Related: How to Set Realistic Expectations When Motherhood is Hard

And because I’ve always been a working mom – I’ve had high functioning guilt for many years. But I’ve learned the truth about guilt and now I’m no longer working because I have to but because I love to. I’m free to enjoy my life!

Mom Guilt is Common but Not Normal

At times I felt like I wasn’t made for this mom thing. I mean, I never had any other moms come to me and say they were feeling the same way. So, I kept my feelings to myself because I already felt under-qualified for the position of mom.

We don’t always talk publicly about what shames us and chronic mom-guilt can leave you feeling broken and frustrated as a mom.

But I now know the truth!

My children have had their fair share of cold viruses and infections over the years and I’ve picked up a phrase I’ve heard doctors use when giving a diagnosis – it’s common but not normal. This means, whatever you’re experiencing affects a lot of people making it common. But the fact that it’s a condition your body isn’t supposed to “have” makes it abnormal.

That’s exactly what mom guilt is – common but not normal.

I’d venture to guess that millions of moms deal with some variation of mom-guilt every day. But just because it’s so common doesn’t mean we should take the attitude that it’s just par for the course.

We have the power to say no to all the labels our society throws around about raising a family. They say your child has to turn terrible when they reach two, will become a hormonal mess when they hit puberty, and angst is the typical attitude for a teenager. Basically – deal with it.

Related: 4 Surprising Signs You’re a Burnt Out Mom and How to Get Out

4 Steps to Getting Rid of Mom Guilt

We don’t have to go along with what’s common. How about we decide to go with what’s normal – the ways it’s supposed to be. So what is normal? In the context of my previous diagnosis example – normal is someone without any physical or mental disorders.

Abnormal is when there’s something going on that’s not supposed to or intended to be there. So again, just because a lot of moms struggle with mom-guilt doesn’t mean it’s supposed to or intended to be like that.

We have the power to choose whether we go along with the masses or to blaze our own trail. I kind of like doing my own thing, so trail-blazin’ I go! You with me?!

Give Yourself Permission To Do What You Believe is Right

The first step in the guilt ridding process is to learn the art of giving yourself permission to do what you believe is right. If it’s homeschooling your child versus sending them to traditional school – don’t allow the guilt of what they may be missing out on creep in.

If it’s not allowing your son to attend a sleepover because you just don’t have peace about it in your heart – know that your decision to obey your heart could be a matter of life or death for him. And don’t feel guilty just because he throws a fit.

If it’s picking up extra shifts at work to pay for them to go to a safe and quality school don’t allow yourself to feel guilty for the missed time together. As long as you’ve made a prayerful, quality decision you must know your toughest decisions are most often your child’s greatest advantage in life.

We have to make difficult decisions every day and second-guessing every one will simply steal your joy. Owning your decisions gives you the power to say no to guilt.

Yes, I said it. You have the power to say no to guilt. You do this by standing firm in your choices as a family and letting peace be your guide and final say. It’s our self-doubt and second-guessing that invites guilt right into our lives. Remember, be firm and confident!

Related: Reversing the 4 Mindsets that are Stealing your Enjoyable Life

Give Yourself Permission to Live in the Moment

The other side of giving yourself permission is to choose to live “in” the moments of your life. That means if you’re a work-at-home mom and you’re rocking your fussy baby back to sleep for the third time in one nap session and you’re tempted to dwell on the work time you’re missing out on – choose to be in that moment.

Instead of holding her in your arms and being frustrated in your mind – stop. Look at that sweet baby of yours and take in the moment. Remind yourself that your baby won’t be this little forever. Don’t allow these unplanned moments to be a mental complaint session but instead to become a bonding moment.

Give yourself permission to be fully in the moment of whatever you’re doing. If it’s a shower, turn up the music, lather up some aromatherapy suds, and stand under the water longer than you should. Basically, live it up!

If you’re in the park with your kids – play with them! Don’t just sit on the bench watching like all the other parents.

If you’re sitting down completing a work project – stay focused and don’t get distracted (unless it’s the kids, of course.) 😉 Don’t let the attraction of social media, for example, pull you away from your precious work time.

When you make a conscious choice to stay committed to the current moment – it’s like kicking guilt in the face and right out the front door. And that’s where we want it to stay!

This happens because you’re making the choice to not be swayed between two things – this or that. Instead, you choose this. And to take it even further you decide not to just go through the motions but to soak in every drop of your life.

Related: Why Every Mom Needs to be Intentional About a Quiet Time Routine

Give Yourself Grace

And finally, in those times when you didn’t do what was best, you must give yourself grace. And there will be plenty of these times to practice. That’s because you’re not perfect and will never be. When you miss the mark you need to forgive yourself.

In the same way we give our kids grace when they don’t make the right choices, we must do the same for ourselves. If your child made a simple mistake because of a poor choice – you may be disappointed or upset – but you’d never give up on them or write them off as a horrible kid.

So why do we so easily write ourselves off as horrible moms? We need grace, too. From ourselves.

Related: How to Get Your Kids to Listen Without Yelling

Make a Plan for Your Choices

The final way to get rid of mom-guilt forever it to make a plan for your choices and how you spend your time. So much of those guilty feelings come as a result of being overextended and having all the many areas of our lives blend together like a really bad stew. Yuck!

Our lives desperately need boundaries. It’s not so much about balance (don’t have time to get into that here) but more about having healthy boundaries for the things that are most important to you and your family.

If you take the time to create a plan for how you actually want to spend your time you’ll gain a lot more peace and experience less stress and anxiety. You can then give yourself permission to live according to your plan and can make daily adjustments as needed.

Comment and let me know how you handle mom-guilt or maybe share your biggest struggle with it. Let’s share and kick this guilt out of our lives forever!

It's really hard not to let the trap of mom guilt take over every situation in our lives. Here's the secret to breaking the cycle of mom guilt forever! #kidsandparenting #kids #parenting #momadvice Mom guilt can be really vicious and can really run all our decisions if we let it. Get the secret to ditching the mom guilt and finding your freedom! #momlife #momadvice #adviceformoms #kids #parenting #kidsandparenting #parentingtips

Struggling with mom-guilt? Here are 4 simple steps to lead you out of the trap of mom guilt and into much needed peace! #Motherhood #momguilt

3 Things Happy Moms Know and Do Every Day to Really Enjoy Motherhood!

how to be a happy mom

Let me start off by answering the big question lingering right now… what makes a happy mom?

I’d like to first tell you that a happy mom is NOT

a perfect mom.

immune from messing up and making mistakes.

happy all the time.

And a happy mom…

does NOT have it all figured out.

does NOT have super powers.

Happy moms

Years ago, I used to be the exact opposite of a happy mom. I was a tired mom, a short-tempered mom, a stressed-out mom, a burnt out mom, and a worried mom. But I never would have defined myself as a happy mom.

It’s not at all that I didn’t love being a mom or loved my kids with every part of me but I was so consumed with “getting it right” and “getting it all done” that all the fun in my days got sucked right out the window like a vacuum, leaving me suffocating inside.

What Happy Moms Do Every Day

I needed a brand new perspective – one that freed me from the bondage of carrying my motherhood on my own. I wanted to learn what other happy moms I knew were doing who didn’t seem to feel so overwhelmed all the time.

And I did. I pinpointed three things that happy moms do every day. And doing these simple things really help so much to remove the pressure and stress that come with motherhood and focus on being free to focus on the things that matter the most.

The Bible calls children, His reward. And I believe that with all my heart. No matter how much stress I may experience as a mom, it will never ever outweigh the joy and gratitude I feel for having the title mom.

“He gives the childless woman a family, making her a happy mother. Praise the Lord!”

Psalms 113:9 NLT

So what does a truly happy mom look like?

Well, she’s a humble woman who knows she can’t and shouldn’t try to get it all done on her own. She’s wise to know that there’s no badge of honor for working her mind and body to the bone. She sacrifices by finding her tribe and gains so much in return.

She survives on grace instead of coffee. I mean, coffee is the nectar of the moms and I love my hot cup of goodness every morning. But I couldn’t live without the fuel of grace from Christ allowing me to do what I do with a joyful heart.

A truly happy mom takes responsibility for her own happiness. This simply means our happiness is a choice. We can be happy even when our kids aren’t acting right or when our spouse isn’t giving us what we really need. We have the power to choose joy in the midst of things that aren’t joyful.

And finally, she’s a woman on a mission. She’s on a mission to win the heart of her children. And while she’s cleaning, teaching, feeding, and disciplining those kids she’s paying attention to the biggest goal – relationship.

Keep reading to know how to experience these things in your own life and home with these very simple tips.

1 | Happy Moms Don’t Do #AllTheThings All At the Same Time

I’m not sure where the belief comes from that we, as moms, must do everything. This is simply not true and not healthy. I used to feel as if caring for the kids, for the house, cooking all the meals, doing all the driving, and on and on was my sole duty as a mom.

Meanwhile, I’ve always been a working mom. I quickly wore myself to the bone and had no joy… at all. Sure my kids were smaller back then but that isn’t a good enough reason to not enjoy one of the best season’s of a woman’s life… raising her babies.

So here are my tips for NOT doing #AllTheThings all at the same time!

Ask for Help

Asking for help isn’t asking for a favor. It’s having an honest conversation with your spouse and your kids about what it means to be a part of a family. If you’re doing all the cleaning, cooking, and house duties in your home… stop.

I’m not saying that there’s one way to distribute labor in your home because there’s not. But it should be appropriate for your family’s dynamic. Consider your children’s ages and when you feel it’s time to introduce chores. And it’s been scientifically proven that giving kids chores is a really beneficial thing for them. So absolutely no downside there!

Also, consider your spouse’s work schedule with yours. If you both work equal schedules you both may find that dividing household responsibilities equally works best. Just start talking about it positively and without negative emotions or nagging getting in the way.

Keep a simple schedule and put yourself on it

Having your kids involved in each activity under the sun can feel overwhelming for both you and your kids. As our kids have gotten older, we’ve allowed them to be involved in one activity per child, per season. There are case-by-case exceptions that pop up along the way but this is the norm for us.

This goes for your schedule too. If you are a compulsive people pleaser who just can’t say no, chances are you’re drowning in obligations. It’s OK to say no to volunteering every week at your kid’s school or being on the roster for every event at your church.

Being overloaded isn’t doing you or your family any favors. And do NOT forget to put time for yourself on that schedule. It doesn’t take much but you need to care for yourself too.

Separate work and kids whenever possible

Finally, the one thing that stole my joy faster than anything was trying to do work regularly in the presence of my children. Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve always been a work at home mom with a computer and a baby in my lap at all times!

This led to many, many tantrums (eh hem… from me) when I couldn’t manage the constant interruptions while I was trying to get my work done. I finally had an Aha moment that my kids were doing nothing wrong. It was me that needed to make the adjustment.

I either needed to learn to seamlessly bounce back and forth between my work and my kids’ needs, or I needed to schedule my work around my kids. And because I just didn’t handle the back and forth very well, I make a huge sacrifice and started working around my kids. You can read about that here.

Since making that single change, I am soooo much of a happier mom!

2 | Happy Moms Give Themselves Heaps of Grace

Grace is knowing that we’re all highly imperfect and we need so much grace along every step of this motherhood journey. There are so many decisions, choices, and the many opinions of others that can make us second guess everything we do.

From the very beginning, we’re making big choices like whether to breast or bottle feeding or whether we should co-sleep or sleep train in their nursury. And the truth is, sometimes we totally rock it and other days we feel like the biggest hot mess ever.

And what we don’t need is more mom guilt eating us alive!

Learn to forgive yourself freely

When you do have one of those days, or weeks, where you yelled so much your throat hurts and you feel like the worst mom that ever lived… stop. Stop beating yourself up. It’s not good for you and it’s also not good for your kids.

The best thing your kids need to see is a true example of a person who knows how to positively respond and recover when they make a mistake. Simply make it right however appropriate, apologize genuinely, and move on!

Know you weren’t made to do this on your own

None of us were meant to do this mom life on our own. Whether you’re married to a husband who helps or one that doesn’t, or whether you’re single, divorced or widowed – you shouldn’t strive to do this life on your own.

This is a very in-depth subject in and of itself without a one-size-fits-all answer. But what is true, is we all need a support system. This can be a group of other mom friends that all help each other out when we need it and when we don’t. Or simply having an honest conversation with our family on why it’s important that everyone in the house do their part.

But you were made to do this

The most important part I want you to really know is though you weren’t meant to do this on your own, you were made to do this.

You were given the privilege of becoming a mom and therefore I truly believe you are already equipped for the job. God created you and called you to be a mother before you were born whether you adopted or birthed your children! There is a special grace given to all moms… you just need to put a demand on that grace through faith.

3 | Happy Moms Foster Connection Above All Else

The final and most important thing that happy moms do every day is foster connection above all else. Too often we can get caught up in teaching, leading, and disciplining our kids… and I didn’t even mention cleaning up after!

But happy moms see that the relationship that they build with their child is one that actually helps make the rest of the mom stuff so much easier. Kids naturally want to please those they love and respect.

When we’re truly connected to our kids, they don’t like breaking that bond by doing things that can rock the boat. And the seeds we sow now in bonding with our children is a harvest that will last a lifetime!

There are many ways to foster this connection. Here are a few of my favorites:

Have one on one time

It doesn’t matter if you’re a working mom or a stay-at-home mom, having one on one time with your kids can easily be done every day. Simply schedule a time block for each child every day. Ten minutes is just fine.

You and your child may just love to talk and catch up on the day. You may love reading a book outloud together or even playing a short board game every night. What you do isn’t as important, as your child knowing they have your undivided attention.

Just keep in mind to do what is most fun or interesting to your child. Showing that we’re “into” what they love, even if we’re not, shows how much we care!

Hug it out

Hugging has been shown in many scientific studies to help children deal with emotional challenges, make kids smarter, grow bigger, and even stay healthy. Yes, all that!

Hugging your child for at least 15 seconds is highly recommended. Now, not all your kids will be natural huggers and others will love to stay in your arms for days on end. And other kids will be wiggling out by second-2! But getting those hugs in every day is beneficial to them and us.

Focus on the good

The final way to foster connection with your kids is to always be looking for and focusing on the good in your child. Your kid might be going through a challenging season or a difficult phase and it may take a lot more energy on your part to see the good… but do it anyway.

This doesn’t mean you ignore the bad, but you praise and high-five all the good moments you can find and this helps inspire your child to keep repeating the good behavior. Instead of getting all the attention from their questionable behavior.


Final Thoughts

Happy moms aren’t perfect or immune from mistakes and bad days. Even after you’ve read this entire post and even put these tips into action, you will mess up.

Just remember that section on grace! You can do this AND enjoy the day because as the saying goes, the days are long but the years are short. In other words, time flies way too fast, so why not work on enjoying this journey!

These fool-proof tips will help you become a happier and more relaxed mom even when you're feeling stressed! #happymom #motherhood #parenting #kidsandparenting

6 No-Brainer Tips to Prevent Toddler Tantrums and Meltdowns

Toddler temper tantrums are tricky but there are simple ways to stop them from ever happening in the first place! Click to get the best tips. #parenting #kidsandparenting #parenting101 #parentingtips #momlife

Toddler temper tantrums – they can strike at a moment’s notice. And usually, happen at the quietest and least kid appropriate location possible with plenty of judging witnesses shaming you with their childless stares.

If your toddler has ever unleashed a monster temper tantrum in public, you already know it’s on the top 10 list of most embarrassing and most frustrating moments in your life.

Toddler temper tantrums are tricky but there are simple ways to stop them from ever happening in the first place! Click to get the best tips. #parenting #kidsandparenting #parenting101 #parentingtips #momlife

So what’s a mom to do when her blessed angel reaches the age of toddlerhood and isn’t maintaining their previous cutie-pie status?

There is help and you don’t have to live afraid to go outdoors or feel like a prisoner to your new toddler’s reign of terror.

But first, we need to change the narrative.

Change the Toddler Narrative

I really hate hearing parents label the toddler years as the terrible twos. This is basically stereotyping and nobody likes to be stereotyped… ever. We ALL want to have the opportunity to be our own person and live our lives without the labels trying to hold us back.

Plus, having the mindset that all toddlers are like the Tasmanian Devil will only hurt you as a parent. That’s because you’re already going into the toddler years expecting the craziness to ensue. Maybe your friend had a toddler that became unglued at the sound of the word, No.

And you automatically assumed this was the norm.

Anytime we go into any relationship or encounter with a set of preconceived notions about that person, we never give them a fighting chance to show us any different. This includes our children.

And this way of thinking is exactly what’s wrong in our world today. So, let’s not allow this toxic mindset to creep into our homes.

Instead, we need to focus on us. Yes, not our toddler but us as parents. Our children are brilliant little people and have the amazing capacity to rise up and meet our parental expectations. We just need to know what those are and lay them out.

And just like the carefully chosen outfit that you laid on the bed for your child to wear to church, they’ll probably come along and chose something else. You need to be prepared that battles will go down but you are the boss and you’ve got this!

OK, so now that we’ve got that out the way.

Related: How to use Your Words to Raise Brave and Vision Focused Kids

How to Prevent Temper Tantrums

The key to handling temper tantrums with grace is knowing that the real work really begins before the toddler tantrum ever shows up on the scene. And that’s what this post is all about… the before.

If you’re looking for tips on how to stop a tantrum already in progress, you’re going to want to read this!

I have three children and one of my kiddos is in the throes of toddlerhood. And I can probably count on two hands (that being generous) how many tantrums I’ve experienced with all three of my kids combined. I don’t say that to brag.

Only to offer encouragement that all of the typical “stages” that are thrown at us as parents don’t have to be our own experiences. I’m by no means a perfect parent but I went into motherhood with the mindset that I’m not excepting society’s negative reports for my children.

That means the terrible twos, the tween and teen disrespect, and anything else society tells me is supposed to happen with my children.

Instead, I choose to take responsibility for creating the environment I want to live. Call me crazy, but I just hate when someone tells me I can’t do something or this is just the way it is.

So, I set out to do things differently. Here is the simple formula for gracefully preventing your toddler’s temper tantrums.

Related: 2 Super Easy Ways to Teach Your Child Personal Accountability and Stop the Blame Game

What Tantrums Really Are

Tantrums are one of the ways your toddler communicates. Like a baby cries… a toddler will act out in their emotions to get our attention. Therefore, don’t worry, tantrums are normal and they don’t mean your child is bad or unruly.

In fact, I’ve had my fair share of “adult” tantrums, some of which were sadly witnessed by my kids. We all get angry, feel misunderstood, and want to be heard. We also don’t always go about expressing our feelings in the most productive and appropriate way.

This is no different from the way toddlers and kids will express their feelings in an outright on the floor tirade. But it’s our job to teach and guide our children into healthier ways to express our emotions. Nobody ever wants to see an adult kicking and screaming on the floor!

And in my own personal experience, most of my kid’s tantrums were because I wasn’t paying attention to what was going on and what they needed at that moment…

Be Sure They Aren’t Having a Meltdown

Before getting into the details about preventing full-on tantrums, I want to give you a quick heads up on what your toddler might be having instead – a meltdown. A toddler meltdown is different than a tantrum because it’s largely a reaction to something they’re experiencing.

Your little guy might be more sensitive to sights and sounds and that new trampoline place is just too overwhelming for him.

It could also be that he’s exhausted and simply needs a nap. Lack of sleep could also trigger a tantrum in a toddler but a meltdown seems to come out of nowhere versus a tantrum which typically happens when you tell them no for something they want.

Finally, you may find your toddler has a meltdown after something upsets or scares them and they can’t control their avalanche of sudden emotions. This happens with my little guy from time to time.

If you suspect your toddler is having a meltdown, follow these simple steps but stay focused on helping him feel safe, comforted, and calm.

Start with Meeting Their Immediate Needs

Toddlers are still very much like their former baby selves. They lack the ability to tell you what they really need and so they act out in a way that’s very similar to a baby crying when they’re wet, hungry, or tired.

When a toddler starts acting out, pulling away from you, and no longer listening you need to go into inspector mode immediately to stop a meltdown in its tracks. Ask yourself when was the last time your little guy had a snack, took his nap, or went to the bathroom. Or basically anything else you can think of.

Meeting these needs early and quickly is the best way to keep a full-on tantrum from happening.

I think we ALL know that lack of sleep or food are huge triggers for a toddler meltdown, so start there.

I’m pretty sure, my son is the most hungry kid on the planet! And he’s quite the opposite from his two older sisters. So as he got older I naturally thought I had this parenting thing down and packed snacks and food based on what I did previously.

I broke the cardinal parenting rule… never try to treat all your kids the same! So basically, he was always hungry and wanting to eat. I quickly learned to bring more healthy snacks with us and that fixed that problem!

Also, if your kiddo doesn’t do well at all with a missed nap, try to always schedule outings and appointments around her nap whenever possible.

Related: 9 Things Your Kid Wishes You’d Do But Doesn’t Know How to Tell You

Consider How You Contribute to the Problem

Other tantrum triggers can be stress or lack of attention from you. Yes, we can actually do things to contribute to their tantrums.

For example, were you stressed out this afternoon getting her to her doctor’s appointment on time? Were you yelling at the cars, had an intense phone call on the way, or even yelled at your child?

Kids can hold on to the stressful emotions we put out and they simply have no way of handling them in a healthy or effective way. It’s the same thing happening when a baby is crying and suddenly your baby starts crying too.

Toddlers also tend to be extremely sensitive. The other day we were headed to breakfast as a family and my husband and I were deep in conversation. And my toddler began annoying his big sister… his specialty. And instead of stopping our conversation to handle the problem, we ignored it until we blew a top.

Big mistake! My husband yelled at him in the back seat (he pretty much never yells) and my son started the teary-eyed pout. When we pulled up to the restaurant, he seemed fine to me but when he got out and saw his dad, he started to cry very hard.

Needless to say, my husband felt terrible. But this shows how strongly toddlers can hold on to stressful emotions.

The second thing I mentioned is lack of attention. If you’re on your phone the whole time in the waiting room and he’s trying to get your attention, stop and be present with him. Nobody likes to be ignored, and this goes for your child too.

Foster Guided Independence

Another great way to allow your child to feel important and ward off tantrums is to offer them the opportunity to make simple choices which make them feel respected. I like to call this guided independence.

What kinds of choices are we talking about?

Let your child make toddler sized choices like what to wear, which plate they want to eat on, and what color cup they want before they have the opportunity to ask for the green cup themselves. Try putting two cups on the counter and telling your little one to choose a cup and get some milk.

Most of the time these simple choices mean absolutely nothing to us, but giving a toddler the wrong color cup can launch the first missile in WW4.

It’s better to offer them the choice first instead of grabbing a cup and them not liking it and then having to correct the situation and ruining dinner.

It’s not at all about letting kids run the show or some new-aged passive parenting tactics. But it is about understanding the needs of our kids and lovingly allowing them to experience independence on our terms, not theirs.

You may need to create boundaries with these choices to prevent yourself from getting frustrated. For example, I let my son get himself dressed every morning. But I have a special drawer where he has a bunch of t-shirts and shorts to choose from.

Most of them all go together so it’s helpful that I have one less task to do and he doesn’t leave out of the house looking like a circus performer. And the best part is he feels like a big boy and doesn’t feel the need to search for ways to battle for independence.

Related: 60 Fun Questions to Ask Your Kids to Learn Their Heart

Establish Strong Expectations

Here’s my favorite tip and where I believe most parents are missing it. This is honestly where my husband shines and helped me see where I was actually sabotaging my own efforts along the way.

Toddlers may be small, but they’re extremely smart! They know when your no means no and when it really means, um, OK fine. Ever done that one before?

Your kid just mentally hit the jackpot and will be coming for you, again and again, to get what they want.

It’s our job and responsibility to establish strong and predictable expectations for our kids as early as newborns. Basically, when your baby cries she learns that you’ll get up and go into mommy investigation mode to fix her current problem.

When you let your toddler that when we go into the store we do NOT run around, touch things on the shelves, or any other inappropriate behavior.

When your toddler hears your instruction and proceeds to do just want you told him not to do, he’s testing the waters and waiting for your response. This will determine if he does it again. Kids will always do what they’re allowed to do.

Inappropriate behavior needs to be addressed every single time. No matter how much of a pain in the butt it is. This works! And it is work! But it’s so worth it when your child knows how to behave themselves in public and at home.

Does my toddler son ever break out in a sprint in Target? Yep! And I firmly tell him we do NOT run in stores and he immediately goes back in the cart. No second chances, no discussions, no bribes, no deals.

Let’s just say, it doesn’t happen often. He’s learned that we mean business. But toddlers will be toddlers, which means they love to test the boundaries and see what they can get away with.

If you waiver it’s like a shark smelling blood in the water… you’re done!

Related: How to Get Your Kids to Listen Without the Yelling and Regret

Be Consistent

Finally, I need to add that there isn’t a quick fix for any parenting struggles and challenges. They all take unique approaches and a lot of trial and error.

But most of all, they require consistency.

We need to keep showing up and doing what is right over and over. And just like consistency is necessary to see the results we want at the gym, it’s exactly the same with parenting.

Your kids already know what to expect from you, whether good or bad. It’s our responsibility to set the right expectations and you’ll see your child thrive.

How do you establish healthy boundaries with your children? Share in the comments below!

Toddler temper tantrums are tricky but there are simple ways to stop them from ever happening in the first place! Click to get the best tips. #parenting #kidsandparenting #parenting101 #parentingtips #momlifeLearn the mom tricks to preventing the dreaded toddler temper tantrum from ever showing up! Yes, they work! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parentingtips #parenting101 #momlifeInstead of stopping temper tantrums, try preventing them all together with this simple and easy to do tips! #kidsandparenting #parenting #momlife #parenting101 #parentingtipsToddler temper tantrums are especially frustrating but they can be prevented all together with these easy and highly effective tips! #kidsandparenting #parenting #parenting101 #parentingtips #kids

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The Simple Solutions I Used to Overcome My Biggest Parenting Challenges!

Positive parenting solutions for your biggest parenting challenges

Parenting is literally the hardest thing we’ll ever do as people! There are so many questions, worries and concerns that keep us up at night and gnaw at our soul.

“Is my kid ever going to actually do what I say?”

“Is she ever going to get passed this phase?”

“I am ever going to feel normal again?”

And here’s the truth, the answers to those questions will look and feel different for every parent and every child. We’re all unique and there’s no one-sized-fits-all approach to parenting. And anyone who tells you that is mistaken.

That’s why I’m so passionate about using positive parenting with my kids. This approach to parenting isn’t a “do this” manual. It’s more of a “consider this” way of seeing myself and my kids.

It’s helped me go from a frustrated, overwhelmed and screaming-head kind of mom to one who can actually remain calm and effectively communicate with my kids even when I’m fuming. That’s huge for me! I still have bad days and mess ups but those are no longer my daily norm.

I want to simply share some of my own biggest parenting challenges and how I found solutions that actually worked. I’m a mom of a toddler, a school-aged child, and a teen. That’s a lot going on in my house and these tips work with all of them!

5 Simple Solutions for my Biggest Parenting Challenges

Positive parenting solutions for your biggest parenting challenges

1 – My Kids Never Listened to Me Until I Yelled

This is such a huge one for me. Like I said, I used to yell to be heard. It felt like the only way my kids responded was when I yelled and got angry. I got to a point where I started to believe that this was just how my kids needed to hear instruction.

When in reality, they didn’t like being yelled at anymore than any other human does. But I was undermining my own authority by not doing what I said and not having any consistency in my parenting.

I made a regular practice of throwing out empty threats like they were prizes at a sporting event. My kids came to NOT believe what I said and this caused my frustration, followed by lots of what I thought was necessary yelling.

All this changed when I started to only say things I was absolutely going to follow through on and no fluff. In addition, nagging and barking orders constantly never helped either. I found that treating my kids with respect and like people goes a long way.

2 – Mom Guilt was Consuming Me

As a mom, there are so many choices we have to make in a single day that can totally shape the life of our child. This person we’ve been trusted to take care of and lovingly raise into a good human being.

Along the way, the pressure, doubts and mistakes we make can smother our joy and confidence as moms.

I watched the movie BirdBox the other night and all I kept thinking was how Sandra’s character had to keep those precious children alive in the most horrendous of circumstances. The stress of just watching it unfold on TV was almost too much for me!

Here’s what I’m learning about mom guilt. First having it at all means I’m a great, loving, and caring mother. The fact that I even care about how good I’m doing says volumes. There are many moms out there that don’t.

And second, praying to constantly seek God’s direction for my home and also writing down my concerns helps me make the best decisions for us. After that, I’m intentional about NOT obsessing about my choices or my mistakes (because we don’t always get it right) so I can live in peace.

3 – I struggled with balancing work and kids

I’ve always been a working mom since my first daughter was born. I’ve just been blessed to have been able to work from home all these years. I started out doing work I hated and have shifted over the years to doing work I love.

Along the way, I struggled a whole lot with balancing the work load I was responsible for and taking care of my kids and home. The process wasn’t easy and never looked pretty but I found my own version of balance.

I don’t really know if there is such thing as true balance between our families and work. And it doesn’t matter if you work inside the home, outside the home or something different entirely. The key is creating healthy boundaries and being intentional about how you spend your time.

Oh and not trying to do it all by yourself!

Take time to find a system that works well for you and your family and be intentional about working that system. And my biggest piece of advice is to learn to ignore that nagging internal voice that says you’re a bad mom for not being with your kids 24/7.

The fact is, our kids don’t need our presence every minute of the day but they do need our heart. If we make connecting with our kids our biggest priority, we’ll all be just fine.

Try spending at least 10 minutes a day with each of your kids just talking and having eyes on me time. You’ll be surprised how effective this is in forging a wonderful bond with your kids.

4 – I was too Punishment-Focused Vs Heart-Focused

I was raised, like so many other kids, that when you did something wrong there was a punishment attached. It was a very simple approach to parenting.

There’s only one problem with that. The need for the parent and child to be deeply connected gets missed. It’s not that parents shouldn’t discipline or dole out appropriate punishments when they’re needed, but when we focus only on the action and punishing that action we miss something.

Our biggest goal as parents should be to win our kid’s heart. When we do that, parenting gets a whole lot easier. You have access into their biggest struggles, concerns and questions. We get to actually help them make decisions and choices that strengthen their ability to make better choices on their own.

This way when they do make a mistake, there’s more communication about why this happened, what they learned, and how it can be avoided in the future.

Punishments have their place, but communication and asking questions are much more effective parenting tools to raising great kids who are ready for real life. In our family, we rarely even have to give out punishments with our kids and in the process, they’re learning how to be more responsible and accountable for their actions and choices.

5 – Not Handling Back Talk, Tantrums and Whining Calmly

When we’re adulting all day, we can be downright exhausted. And when our kids start whining or talking back it can be very frustrating.

We just want our kids to comply without complaint and when they don’t we can feel backed into a wal. This dysfunctional communication cycle isn’t healthy for us and it’s not teaching our kids how to effectively handle conflict.

It’s so much easier, in the short run, to shut down our toddler’s whiny complaints or our teenager’s back talk. But it’s more helpful to engage positively in the conversation or interaction with firm and calm action.

In the case with a tantrum, our toddler is usually overwhelmed by their big feelings. Getting down on their eye level and calmly talking to them or even giving them a firm hug can help calm those emotions.

Ultimately feelings cannot be punished away; they must be worked through. It comes down to determining why a tantrum is occurring and giving children the knowledge and skills needed to move beyond tantrums.

– Susan Newman Ph.D.

As for dealing with conflict with older children, asking questions for understanding is really helpful in defusing negative emotions and helping our kids feel heard. Dr. Newman also says that being too permissive or being too controlling can bring on back talk in our kids.

This has held true for me and my kids!

hildren need a firm but fair leader who takes their opinions respectfully into account and also knows how to stand firm when needed.

Susan Newman Ph.D.

Final Thoughts on Overcoming Parenting Challenges

This isn’t an exhaustive list of parenting challenges and we all struggle in different areas. A lot of our issues depend on the uniqueness of our own families.

These are the challenges I struggled with for far too long. But I know so many other moms feel overwhelmed by these as well. It’s important for me to share my parenting journey with you in the hopes that my struggles and victories will help you!

The most important thing to remember is perfection is the enemy of progress so give yourself tons of grace along the way. When you make a parenting mistake forgive yourself, make it right and move on.

Tired of dealing with endless back talk, toddler tantrums, kids not listening, and mom guilt? Stop struggling and get these positive parenting solutions to your biggest parenting struggles. #kidsandparenting #positiveparenting #parenting101
There's no batch of honor for struggling with parenting challenges. These parenting tips and positive parenting solutions will help you overcome your biggest parenting struggles! #positiveparenting #kidsandparenting #parenting

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