Clinically reviewed by Dr. Chris Mosunic, PhD, RD, CDCES, MBA

6 easy ways to keep your cool when your parent rage rounds the corner

It’s a calm place to start

by Vivian Nunez

You aren’t a bad parent if you feel angry, annoyed, or overstimulated by your kid(s), whether we’re talking about postpartum rage or the need for anger management for parents of kids of any age. Everyone is human, even parents. Certain tactics can help you practice radical acceptance in those moments and hopefully bring the rage down to a manageable simmer. Which is what every parent wants, right?

For starters, taking even a few seconds to check in with yourself can help you self-soothe enough to understand what you need next. There is power in understanding if your next step requires something physical (like a cup of coffee) or something emotional (like hiding in the closet for just five seconds). Just think back to the last time parental rage kicked in and what you wish you would have had then!

While you get to thinking — here are seven practices that can help you keep your cool the next time rage pops up, just in case.

Count to three and take a deep breath

Yes, we know this sounds rather elementary. But if it works for overwhelmed kids, why can’t it work for overwhelmed adults, too? Counting to three may not solve the situation, but it can help clear your mind enough to figure out what’s next. You can pair counting to three or four with a deep inhale and exhale, which may help move you closer to calming your nervous system. Even if only a little bit.

Hide in the bathroom

The bathroom can be synonymous with privacy, which is exactly what you may need when feeling your angriest. Retreating to the bathroom (or any separate space) also gives you the chance to put physical distance between yourself and your kids.

Tap in a partner

Whenever parental rage reaches its peak, don’t be afraid to tap in a partner, and we don’t mean just a fellow co-parent. In moments of overwhelm when you need someone to take care of your kids, a video call with an aunt or a few minutes of their favorite TV show are all fair game.

Get fresh air

Remember, getting fresh air can include going for a walk, but it can also be as simple as opening a window and letting the breeze in. The fresh air can do wonders to cool any temperament.

Practice affirmations

If you have to hold onto something when the rage waves come crashing down, don’t hesitate to whisper affirmations to yourself. Lean on phrases like “I am doing my best” or “I can breathe through this moment.”

Reconnect with yourself through self-care

During a crisis, it can be difficult to maintain more extensive self-care habits. You’re in survival mode, which is why a deep breath or a minute of fresh air counts as a practical and immediate act of self-care. But, once you have more than a second to yourself, practicing your favorite self-care habit can help you honor all the feelings that came up during the day and help you reconnect to the other parts of yourself, too. If you need some habits to borrow, try going for a meditation session, turning to a therapist or trusted friend, or taking yourself out for coffee to reset.

Ultimately, no matter what practice you turn to, add a note to your phone that says, “I am trying my absolute best, even in the moments that test my patience.” Because we know you are. Then, create an album with all your favorite joyful moments with your kiddos because the visuals will carry you through even the roughest of times.

Calm Health is a mental health wellness product. Calm Health is not intended to diagnose or treat depression, anxiety, or any other disease or condition. Calm Health is not a substitute for care by a physician or other health care provider. Any questions that you may have regarding the diagnosis, care, or treatment of a medical condition should be directed to your physician or health care provider.

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