How to Reset When You Have a Parenting Moment You’re Not Proud Of

As a parent, you work hard every day to be the best you can be. You work hard to plan ahead and prepare, you keep your patience even when your little one is throwing their third tantrum of the day, and you referee disagreements between your tots day-in and day-out. No matter how hard you work, though, it’s unlikely that you’re able to be your best self 100% of the time. When you have a moment you’re not proud of (perhaps you yelled at your child for something minor or resorted to a discipline technique you know doesn’t work) follow the steps below to get back on track.

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1. Reflect

In the moment when you’re frustrated or tired or angry, it can be really difficult to think through what went wrong but you can’t do better unless you take this first step. Once you’ve cooled off, think through the situation and what about it made it so frustrating or difficult for you to handle.

2. Let go of guilt

Nothing is worse than tossing and turning at night feeling guilty about something you did as a parent. Guilt isn’t all bad, it can motivate us to do better. However, holding on to it and letting it control you just isn’t productive. Let go of feeling bad about what happened yesterday or last week to make room for doing better in the future. 

{ MORE: 3 Phrases to Use When Your Child Isn't Listening }

3. Decide what you want to do differently

Before you can do better, you have to decide what ‘better’ looks like. Decide what your goal is. Perhaps it’s avoiding spanking or making sure you don’t fight with your partner in front of your kids. Whatever your goal is, try to be as specific as possible when you think about what you want.

4. Make a plan

Now that you know what you want to do, make a plan to ensure it happens. For example, if you always end up yelling at the kids for fighting as you cook dinner, perhaps plan to have dinner ready before they get home from school so you can dedicate your full attention to them in the afternoon.

5. Ask for accountability

Having someone who will help you stick to your goal is important. Share your plan with your spouse or partner, the friend you can count on to check in each week, or even your kids. Let them know you’re going to be doing your best and ask them to remind you of why meeting your goal is important when things get tough. 

{ MORE: I Was the Perfect Mom ... and Then I Had Kids }

How do you reset after a parenting moment you're not proud of?

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How to Reset When You Have a Parenting Moment You’re Not Proud Of

Julia Pelly has a master's degree in public health and works full time in the field of positive youth development. Julia loves hiking after work, swimming during the summer and taking long, cuddly afternoon naps with her two sons on the weekends. She is writing a memoir on pregnancy, motherhood, and sisterhood and lives in North Carolina, with her husband and two young boys. ... More

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