And if we are not ready for it, we end up even more upset and angry, over what is a very legitimate question.
In the past this type of comment or answer would make me immediately list our the reasons (i.e. excuses) about why I was saying it in an angry voice. Something like: he wasn’t listening or it was the 10th time I had asked him to do something.
But instead of answering I paused. I took a breath and thought “why am I saying this in an angry voice? Why am I upset?”
I find this kind of questioning helpful in calming down. It gives the logical part of my brain an opportunity to activate which means my amygdala can calm down (no need for fight, flight or freeze reactions) which means I feel less like I’m being attacked and more like what is happening and why am I having this reaction.
Even though it sounds like I would be silent there for several minutes, this all took place in the space of about 30 seconds.
I then said “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it to come out as an angry voice” and then continued the conversation with him.
Its inevitable that we will get angry, frustrated or upset with our kids. That as much as we try to do mindful, gentle, conscious parenting, we will raise our voice or speak in an “angry” tone. We are human and dealing with emotions is part of the territory.
But if we want to teach our kids to emotionally regulate themselves and learn how to process their own emotions, we need to do the work ourselves.
And remember, the moment we catch ourselves losing it or using our angry voices … OR if our kids call us out on it, it doesn’t mean we have to continue in the same way.
We can stop, take a breather, say sorry and start again.
It doesn’t make you look ‘weak’ as a parent, and it will show your child what emotional regulation looks like, so that they can in turn do it themselves.