5 Parenting Strategies to Help You Not Overreact

Mighty Mommy shares 5 tips on how you can keep your emotions in check and not overreact when times get tough.

Cheryl Butler
4-minute read
Episode #453

overreacting parents

One of the best parts of parenting is the journey you take with your kids. One moment, you can be sitting at your kitchen table mindlessly paying the bills and suddenly you look up, pen in hand, and witness your 12-month old taking his first steps across the way in the family room! Parenting milestones such as this are invigorating, exciting and leave you wanting more. 

And then there are those moments where your parenting journey goes south. Those sweet, rewarding experiences such as your baby’s first words or your six-year-old learning to read are quickly replaced with a mural of geometric designs all over the freshly painted walls courtesy of your favorite tube of lipstick, or your newly licensed teen backing into the closed garage door. Sigh! 

Regardless of whether your family is experiencing a terrific high or a rock-bottom low, the one thing that can keep all of the emotions in your family on an even keel is how you, the parent, react. Here are five tips on how you can keep your emotions in check and not overreact when times get tough.

5 Ways To Prevent Losing Your Cool With Your Kids

  1. Pretend You Have an Audience
  2. Speak Positively about Your Kids in Their Presence
  3. Ignore Bad Behaviors
  4. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
  5. If (When) You Do Lose Your Cool, Own It

We’ll explore each in more detail.

Tip #1:  Pretend You Have an Audience

I usually have a laid back personality, so when I do get riled up it’s quite noticeable and I still have plenty of moments with my kids where I want to throw my hands up and yell, “I surrender!” It’s easy to overreact when our kids are goofing off, not helping out around the house after they’ve been asked several times, fighting with each other, or being disrespectful, but if someone you respect—your child’s teacher, your pediatrician, your coworker, a close friend—were to see you lose your cool with your kids, you’d probably be mortified and try to pull it together as quickly as possible. So, why not get into the habit of pretending you have an audience? You’re less likely to overreact with your child if someone’s there watching your every move. 

Tip #2: Speak Positively about Your Kids in Their Presence

Often after a negative incident has taken place, we as parents want to discuss it with our spouse when he/she returns from work. If your child is in the vicinity, however, don’t get into such a conversation until you’re certain your child can’t overhear you. Discussing their behavior in a negative light while they are within earshot can reinforce the bad behavior as well as damage your child’s self esteem.

Once you’ve discussed a negative incident with your child, let it go and save further discussions about the incident privately. Not doing so could get you all hot and bothered and you could end up overreacting twice over the same matter. 

See also: 5 Ways to Change Bratty Behavior and 4 Ways to Keep Your Family Strong


All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Cheryl Butler Project Parenthood

Cheryl L. Butler was the host of the Mighty Mommy podcast for nine years from 2012 to 2021. She is the mother of eight children. Her experiences with infertility, adoption, seven pregnancies, and raising children with developmental delays have helped her become a resource on the joys and challenges of parenting. You can reach her by email.