Single parenting can be an intensely emotional experience, full of lots of ups and downs. It’s natural to feel a wide range of emotions any given day with the many responsibilities and life demands coming your way. Some moments will be full of joy, such as hearing your children’s laughter or getting an unexpected hug from your teen. Others, however, may be more challenging and filled with feelings of stress, anxiety, anger, and frustration. Know that it’s okay to feel this way. Experiencing tough emotions is a part of being human; no one is perfect, and we all have bad days. It’s how we choose to respond to these emotions that matters.
Practicing emotional self-regulation is a key element in keeping your cool as a single parent and modeling effective emotion regulation for your kids. Healthy emotion regulation starts with owning and accepting your emotions. When you allow yourself to tune into and experience your emotions, you create an opportunity to better understand what you are feeling and to respond in a positive and constructive way. This is especially important during moments when you feel angry or upset and feel like you are on the verge of losing your temper. Here are some quick and easy strategies to keep your cool and respond constructively when feeling angry or upset with your kids instead of reacting in a way that may escalate the situation even more: 1) take some deep breaths to help you calm down and 2) walk away from the situation to take some time to process what you are feeling before responding. For more tips to help you stay calm and regulate your emotions, visit our Split Seconds: How to quickly regain composure as a parent blog series.