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

Tip #3: Ignore Bad Behaviors

One of the first parenting books I read was The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries by Michele Borba. I related to her tips because they were so practical and easy to apply. One of my favorites was how to deal with tantrums, whining, and annoying behaviors. Turns out, the longer you give attention to these behaviors, the longer they will last. The trick is to ignore, ignore, ignore!

It sounded much too simple to actually work, but when I focused on my kids' good behaviors and paid no attention to the less desirable ones, I was pleasantly surprised at how well this tactic worked. We can’t always change how another person behaves, especially a young child, but we can change how we deal with these behaviors, and that has been one of the biggest stress reducers and ways to keep my own temper in check while raising kids.

Tip #4:  Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

One of my favorite rules of parenting is, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” Having an immaculate home, unstained clothing, a car that isn’t laden with crumbs and empty juice box cartons, and a kid who wants to wear unsightly combinations of stripes and plaids means absolutely nothing at the end of your parenting day.   

Incidentals must be factored into the parenting equation and then let go as soon as possible.

When you become a parent, your priorities change. Those inconsequential, day-to-day mishaps are a part of life—let it go. Spilled milk, muddy floors, broken furniture—these incidentals must be factored into the parenting equation and then let go as soon as possible. If you stop overreacting about these minor, unimportant things, if and when a real crises does hit, you’ll be much better equipped to deal with it.

Tip #5:  If (When) You Do Lose Your Cool, Own It

If your anger has already boiled over and you’ve lost your cool, don't back away from it. Instead, simply own up to what you've done wrong. Don't give in to the temptation to blame your child for triggering your outburst. Say, "I am very disappointed by your sneaky behavior, but I shouldn't have yelled at you, and I'm very sorry.” The act of apologizing alone can be calming and at the same time, you’re being a good role model for your child.

How do you prevent losing your cool and overreacting with your kids? Share your thoughts in the comments section at quickanddirtytips.com/mighty-mommy, post your ideas on the Mighty Mommy Facebook page. or email me at mommy@quickanddirtytips.com. Visit my family-friendly boards at Pinterest.com/MightyMommyQDT

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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.