Magazine article Working Mother

Be a Peaceful Parent

Magazine article Working Mother

Be a Peaceful Parent

Article excerpt

If you could keep just one New Year's resolution, wouldn't it be to stop screaming and start chilling when you're with your kids? You try to stay calm when the milk spills, your toddler bites or your teen talks back. But it takes more than counting to ten when your kids use the kitchen wall as a canvas for crayons. Because we all want to remain lovingly low-key amidst the chaos, we sought advice from Working Mother columnist and renowned pediatrician William Sears, MD, and his wife, Martha-who survived raising eight (gasp!) children. "Kids can be annoying and push our buttons," acknowledges Dr. Sears. "But as parents we set the tone. Show them you're okay and have things under control, and you can turn pandemonium into peace." So when your child spills juice on your silk suit the morning of a big meeting, imagine how you'd want to be treated if you were your kid. Martha Sears says that over time she got pretty good at conceptualizing how she'd want her mom to react if roles were reversed. On manic mornings she kept cool by internalizing a sense of the parent she wanted to be. She learned that while she couldn't always control circumstances, she could control her reaction to them. Knowing that many of our wise reader moms also have temper-taming tricks up their sleeves, we sought their advice, too. Among these ideas may be your best bet for becoming the mom you want to be in 2006.

As a working mother of a toddler, there are times when my fuse is set to blow. But when I feel the anger coming, I take a moment to remember how boring life was before my daughter. I also remind myself that when she's an opinionated 16-year-old with a driver's license, I'll look back at her messes and mild disobedience with nostalgia. If that doesn't do the trick, I sing the alphabet song-loud. My daughter often forgets what she's doing and joins in. If she doesn't, the tune usually calms me down. When I do lose my temper, I always apologize. My daughter rewards my "I'm sorry" with a kiss. -Shaheen Pasha, 28; Imaan, 2

I sing "I feel good" from the James Brown song whenever I start to lose it with my kids. It cracks them up and calms me down.

-Linnie Frank Bailey, 50; Gregory, 15, and Kyra, 7

If I'm upset or angry with one of my three sons, I'll cuddle next to him for a few minutes when I tuck him in for the night. With the lights dimmed, in whispered conversation, it's easier to discuss what he did to upset me and what he needs to do to correct it. I always end our conversation by asking if he knows how much I love him. Since my 9- and 11-year-olds think they're too old for mom kisses, we end the night giggling as I wrestle them for a smooch on the cheek. …

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