If you’re a parent, you’ll be well aware that maintaining a calm and healthy relationship with your kids is not always easy. You’re human, after all, and occasionally your emotions will get in the way of your ability to make rational decisions and get through moments of turbulence.

However, keeping calm while parenting is vital if you want to do what is best for you and child, as it allows you to work through situations steadily without making any rash decisions.

If you’re prone to emotional outbursts, take a look at the following tips for keeping a cool head when your child starts to act up:

1. Take control of you breathing

One of the best ways to calm yourself down when you feel your blood boiling is to take some deep breaths. Inhale deeply, hold your breath for a couple of seconds, and slowly exhale. As well as making you feel more mellow, it will distract you from your emotions for a short while and will prepare you to deal with the situation at hand. For more information on why deep breathing is such a powerful tool, take a look at this fascinating article.

2. Count backward from 10

Counting backwards from 10 during times of emotional upheaval will stop any unfortunate outbursts and will give you time to think of something firm but fair to say to your child. It will also give them an opportunity to reflect on why they may have done something wrong.

3. Step out of the situation for a few seconds

As long as you and your child are in a safe situation, walk away for a few moments. Tell them you need to collect your thoughts and return once you feel that you are in control of your emotions. Firmly tell your child that you expect total silence whilst you are taking a time out so they do not anger you even further.

4. Remember that it is natural for kids to test authority

As your child grows up, they will naturally try to test boundaries. This can be irritating for the parents it affects, but it is helpful to remind yourself that other families are going through similar experiences.

5. Learn how to pretend that you are calm

Faking a calm emotional response can be difficult but it is certainly possible. To put on your best calm and collected face, try:

  • Keeping your face as relaxed as possible
  • Maintaining direct eye contact with your child
  • Speaking slowly and firmly without raising your voice.

Finding a good balance between being firm and gentle can be tricky but it is also an effective way of demonstrating that you are in charge. Eye contact, meanwhile, will make your words more memorable, as this interesting article explores.

6. Keep you words short and sweet

Use words that your child will understand and speak clearly.

7. Don’t give in to your child’s requests

Once you have calmed down a little, it can be all too easy to make compromises with your child. Try to avoid giving in to their requests, however. This will undermine your authority and could be used against you in future arguments. Let them know that you understand their feelings but that your word is final.

8. Ask questions to get children to reflect on their behavior

Asking kids questions about their actions is a great way to get them to see things from your point of view.

These could include, for example:

  • How would you feel if I told you a lie like that?
  • How would you feel if I said something hurtful to you?

You may be surprised at how effective this can be.

9. Establish expectations before emotions blow up

Sometimes, parents and children clash when boundaries are not fully established. Make sure that your children know how you expect them to behave and talk about the consequences they will face if they fail to meet these expectations.