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Keeping Cool When Your Child Pushes Your Buttons

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Things Parents Can Do to Keep Your Cool When Your Child Pushes Your Buttons

As a parent, it can be difficult to stay cool, calm, and collected when your child does something that pushes your buttons. You may feel like you are about to lose it or explode, or you may feel extremely burnt out. Feeling this way can lead to an increased chance of “snapping” or feeling irritable — the opposite of being cool, calm, and collected. It can look like the character “Anger” from the Disney movie, Inside Out. Here are 5 things that you can do to keep your cool when your child tests your patience.

1. Deep Breathing:

Deep breathing can help you feel relaxed and calm. Deep breathing activates a part of your brain that helps you feel soothed and alleviates stress. Taking a second to take some intentional deep breaths can bring you to a calmer and more relaxed state of mind when your child pushes your buttons.

2. Intense Exercise:

When your child irritates you, you may feel more stressed, anxious, and ready to combat that stress. This is usually what happens when our “fight or flight” response is activated. When “fight or flight” mode is activated, a part of our brain is telling us that we need to get out of or combat the situation, and our bodies can feel an increase in energy. This energy can be released by engaging in intense exercise, such as going on a brisk walk, running, doing jumping jacks in place, or weight lifting.

3. Listen to music:

Listening to music can help shift your mood to one that is more relaxed and calm. The key to listening to music is to choose music that will alter your mood. If you are angry or stressed, find or create a playlist that is relaxing and calm. If you are feeling down and low, find or create a playlist that can lift your spirits. Listening to music has been shown to improve mood, and decrease stress.

4. Read a book:

It can help to grab a book and read for a bit. Reading can help you focus on something other than the situation that you are currently in. By distracting yourself with other thoughts and words, you are giving yourself time to lower your stress level and approach your child at a later time in a more collected mindset.

5. Positive Affirmations:

As a parent, it can be easy to beat yourself up when you lose it or explode. Positive affirmations are statements that you can use to help you challenge negative thoughts that you might have about yourself. Some examples of a positive affirmation are: “I am doing the best that I can,” “I am human and made a mistake,” and “We will get through this.” Oftentimes, positive affirmations are statements that you repeat to yourself and can lead to positive outcomes and changes!

6. Take a break & Check in:

When you find yourself becoming stressed, irritable, or feel like you are about to lose your cool, it can be helpful to take a break and check in with yourself. Notice your thoughts, feelings, and urges, and ask yourself where they are coming from and if they are going to be effective in the situation. Checking in with yourself can help you make decisions rather than acting impulsively, or out of anger/stress. It can also be helpful to check in with yourself at the end of the day in order to acknowledge and recognize your stressors each day. This can be a good method of letting go of stressors daily, as well as give you an idea of where you may need more support.


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Lisa Tams, M. S. U. E. (2022, January 21). The role of music in Stress Management. Food & Health. Retrieved May 20, 2022, from

Schwarz, by: N., & Schwarz, N. (2016, September 13). A calm-down plan (for parents). Imperfect Families. Retrieved May 20, 2022, from

TodayShow. (2016, August 27). ‘remember to breathe’: 8 ways to keep your cool as a parent. Retrieved May 20, 2022, from

Nina Iraheta wears a light blue sweater and has long dark hair streaked with blonde. She has a bright, kind smile.

About Nina Iraheta

In my free time I like to read, hang out with my cat, and attend live shows. I love a good suspense/thriller book, however I also love to spend the night singing along to my favorite artists at live shows! I also love to enjoy nature, go hiking, and it is a hope of mine to visit all of the national parks in the United States!

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