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Feeling Like an Out-of-Control Parent? Try Taking a Parent Time Out

Our kids can drive us nuts, even provoke rage we didn’t know we had. Those times when we feel like out-of-control parents, we need to give ourselves a break. Parenting expert, Amy Speidel says, “Give yourself a time-out when you can’t respond with your best self.” Such a useful technique for those times when you feel like you’re going to lose it.

Curbing Angry Parenting


So we all know that kids can drive us nuts. We all know that. And what I want you to really think about is this, when is it more likely to happen? Have you ever noticed that your kids are more likely to get on your case and bug you when you’re tired or in a hurry? When you’ve got other things on your mind, when you’ve already exhausted your willpower for the day.

It’s important to recognize that willpower is an exhaustible resource. We only have so much of it. I sometimes say, even about myself, my kindness bank can be depleted. And then I just don’t want to be kind anymore. So there’s a point where we need to refill. And if we’re on each other’s case about that, instead of recognizing “perhaps this is more about me than you right now, perhaps I’m not in the best place to manage all that’s coming at me” we will stop blaming other people for upsetting us. If I’m feeling upset, then I’m going to take responsibility for that.

Just take a moment. Think about what’s going on in me that makes this feel so much harder than it did just hours ago. Perhaps it’s because there’s so much going on, I can’t respond to you with my best self. And it’s important that kids know that as adults, we get tanked out. They get tanked out. So when I say to them, “I’m not at my highest self right now. I’m going to back up, out of this situation so that I can regain my composure. I’ll be back,” it give us a chance to stop and reflect. We don’t have to stay in the argument.

It’s kind of like, you know, you get that—that—that out-of-control parent craziness, and you’re on the crazy train and it’s like, “I’m going to stay on the crazy train, and you’re going to get the power of this.” As soon as you recognize it’s not going in a positive direction, stop. Change directions, and say, “I’ll be in charge of me, it’s not anybody else’s fault that I got crazy…”

Amy Speidel is a Certified Parent Coach at Senders Parenting Center and an instructor in the Conscious Discipline Philosophy for parents and teachers.

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