Getting Through Together / Wellbeing for parents and whānau / It’s hard to keep my cool with the kids

The stress of COVID-19 means lots of time together and lots of conflicting demands on our time is tough. Things will get tense sometimes– that’s normal.

There may be times however, where feelings of frustration and anger may be overwhelming and all you want to do is yell and scream at your tamariki. These feelings are not unusual as a parent, especially in times of heightened stress. However you need to do your absolute best to not react right in that moment. 

tips for keeping cool

If you do lose your cool, yell or scream at your kids, it’s important you communicate with your tamariki that you had been feeling frustrated or angry and why. But wait until you have taken the time to cool down. It’s okay for children to know you experience strong emotions and if you can role-model how to manage them, tamariki will learn to do the same. It’s also important to apologise for reacting in that way. Talk together about what you (as a parent) can do differently next time you feel like this. We all make mistakes, even adults. Show your kids what to do when you make a mistake.

“It was the end of the day, I was exhausted and feeling overwhelmed and the kids were making so much noise. I just lost it and shouted at the top of my lungs to “shut the fuck up”. I immediately felt like such a terrible parent. Once I had calmed down I sat down with them and explained how I had been feeling and said I was sorry and that yelling like that was not okay. It helped us all to feel better.” (Sarah– parent of three children).