Manage Big Parenting Feelings Before They Manage You

Huge parenting misnomer: we need to protect our kids from our negative feelings. The truth: it’s easier to lose control when we’re focused on stopping our emotions. Carla Naumburg explores seven practices to help you build resilience during tense parenting moments.

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I recently had the nerve to suggest that my daughter eat her broccoli before indulging in another bowl of mac ‘n cheese. She promptly lost it — I’m talking level four meltdown right there at the table. I knew she was tired and cranky, and I knew she was angry at me for pushing veggies on her yet again. I was tired too, and I was irritated at her for blowing up, so I did what any reasonable parent would do: I snapped. “This is NOT a thing to freak out about. It’s just broccoli, and the sooner you finish it, the sooner we can be done with dinner.”

If you’re a parent, you know how that went: poorly. She continued to cry, and I continued to feel irritated at her. I didn’t want to deal with any of the feelings in the room, not mine and certainly not hers. I’m not alone in this — few of us ever want to hang out in the muck of unpleasant emotions. Either the feelings are too intense, or the timing is inconvenient, or we just don’t have the energy to deal, so we stuff down, cover up, ignore, reject, or deny…