The Real Reason Why Parents Yell at Their Kids

Shrieking with excitement and passionate giggles, my kids and I locked hands outside the car, grabbed our bags and started walking towards our apartment building.

Everything in that moment felt right.

Then I heard it. The yelling.

The number one reason why parents yell. Plus, the 2-minute strategy that can help you stop yelling immediately.

My eyes shifted left to right, scanning for where it was coming from. I spotted it: mom, minivan, kids.

She stood outside the rear sliding door looking inward, kids peppered the inside of the van, and the roaring words that followed are ones I’ll never forget.

In a single instant, everything turned to slow-motion as I watched her arms charge up and down into the air. Her voice accelerated with each passing second, and verbal bullets shot into the ears before her.

The kids and I continued walking inside, but my heart raced.

My cheeks flushed hot.

My throat felt tight.

My stomach tied double and triple knots.

But not for the reason you’d think.

I looked at the mom outside the minivan, and the first image that popped into my head was…myself.

Because man, I’ve been there.

I’ve. so. been. there. 

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How to Be Mindful Holding a Baby

Meditation for Real Life
By DAVID GELLES

“Being mindful while holding a baby can be an incredibly gratifying, renewing and sometimes challenging mindfulness practice. Babies cycle through various states of being throughout their days and nights. How you are in relationship to a baby in these various states is truly a practice in everyday life. It can be helpful to remember that whatever state of being that your baby is in at any particular moment, it is not a permanent condition. Nothing is.” — Nancy Bardacke, founding director of Mindfulness-Based Childbirth and Parenting.

If the baby you are holding is asleep, take the opportunity to really experience him or her with all your senses.

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12 Tips to Build a Stronger Sibling Bond

“In many sibling relationships the rate of conflict can be high, but the fun times in the backyard and the basement more than balance it out. This net-positive is what predicts a good relationship later in life. In contrast, siblings who simply ignored each other had less fighting, but their relationship stayed cold and distant long term.” – Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman

If your children are having a hard time with each other, it’s natural that you focus on helping them learn to resolve differences peacefully. But it’s important to remember that their incentive to work things out happily with each other depends on how much of a positive balance they’ve built up in their “relationship bank account.”  

How do siblings build up a reservoir of good feelings to draw on? Mostly, by having a good time together. Dr. John Gottman of the Seattle Love Lab has found that couples need five to seven positive interactions to counter-balance one negative interaction. This ratio has been repeated in multiple studies, from couples to workplaces. As far as I know, there hasn’t been parallel research done with siblings. But that’s not a bad ratio to aim for.

This might make you feel despairing—after all, if they fight six times a day, how can you help them create 36 positive interactions? Remember that a smile counts as a positive; these don’t all have to be major interactions to have a beneficial effect. Why not simply adopt the goal of helping your children have as many positive interactions as you can?

1. Notice and promote the activities that get your children playing together. Research on improving sibling relationships shows that children have better relationships when they share activities they both enjoy. It can be tough to identify those activities, especially if there’s an age or interest gap. But if you pay attention, you can usually suggest something that will interest both children. For instance, if she wants to play store and he wants to play astronaut, why not have a store on the moon? Or maybe both enjoy the play kitchen, or doing art together, or making forts. Try to encourage at least one shared activity every day.

2. Don’t interrupt happy play. You probably remember the old adage “Never wake a sleeping baby.” My corollary is “Don’t interrupt a happily playing child.” So when siblings are playing together well, don’t take it for granted. Support them in whatever they need to keep playing, and don’t interrupt unless it’s unavoidable.

3. Use oxytocin to get your children bonding. Laughing. Being outdoors. Dancing. Singing. Roughhousing. Include as many oxytocin-inducing activities as you can in your daily routine.

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Want to be a happy parent? Give up these 15 things to find joy

Because parenthood is challenging, we can sometimes forget how to just be happy in the midst of it all.

So I invite you to consider which of these 15 things keeps you from happy parenting. My advice?

Let them go.

Allow yourself to be a happy parent for your child—and yourself.

It’s time to let go of—

1. “Supposed to”

We were conditioned by our own early family experiences to believe that parenthood or childhood are supposed to look a certain way. But if you hold onto the way things are “supposed” to be, you may miss enjoying how they actually are.

Be willing to question what you prioritize as a parent and why.

2. Keeping score

What does your mental score-card keep track of—Which parent does more? Who’s most consistent? Which mom contributes most in your child’s class? Keeping score wastes energy. Just do what you feel inspired and able to do.

Don’t feel obligated by others’ contributions. Don’t obligate them to live up to yours.

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The Birth of a Mother

By ALEXANDRA SACKS, M.D.

As the psychiatrist Daniel Stern explained in the 1990s in his books “The Motherhood Constellation” and “The Birth of a Mother,” giving birth to a new identity can be as demanding as giving birth to a baby.

Dr. Stern showed that becoming a mother is an identity shift, and one of the most significant physical and psychological changes a woman will ever experience.

The process of becoming a mother, which anthropologists call “matrescence,” has been largely unexplored in the medical community. Instead of focusing on the woman’s identity transition, more research is focused on how the baby turns out. But a woman’s story, in addition to how her psychology impacts her parenting, is important to examine, too. Of course, this transition is also significant for fathers and partners, but women who go through the hormonal changes of pregnancy may have a specific neurobiological experience.

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4 Important Words to Help End Power Struggles

 

As a child, I spent idyllic summers at my family’s secluded lake cabin in the woods of Northern Wisconsin. My fondest memories include swimming with my cousins, cooking with my grandmother, and fishing with my dad.

Hello nostalgia.

Last Summer I returned that tiny lake cabin to share a week-long vacation with my dad, cousins, and this time, my own child. About half way through the vacation, I remember sitting in a lawn chair on the beach chatting with my cousins.

Together we laughed the afternoon away reminiscing over our childhood memories together, while our kids—ages 2, 3, and 5—played in the lake, splashing and wrestling around. I couldn’t think of anything more perfect.

Kids play turned rough.

As the kids continued wrestling, one of them started choking on water.

Gulp.

It’s the sound that sends a mother’s heart straight down to her pelvis.

Thankfully, it was a small amount of water and after a few good coughs all was well again. But the kids couldn’t help continue to wrestle. Splashes of water transcended into the air, heads were dunked under water, and playful shrieks traveled at least a mile across the lake.

No one wanted to ruin their fun, but surely our hearts and stomachs couldn’t handle one more drop into the pelvis.

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