When you need a time-out
When your own frustration as a parent builds to a crescendo, and your anger is out of proportion to your child’s behavior or you feel the temptation to use physical force against your child, then you need a time-out.
Tell your spouse to take over or call another mom or a babysitter to give you some time away from your kids. If you can’t get help from another adult, take a few deep breaths and tell your child, “I’m feeling really frustrated right now. I need a break.” If your child is 4 or older, then you can go into your bedroom for five to ten minutes.
But if your kids are younger, “simply sit in a chair, look at a magazine or otherwise calm yourself,” says Sam Goldstein. Claire Lerner adds, “It can be valuable to let your child see you lose it and regroup.” You’re demonstrating that when you get really upset and frustrated, you know how to calm yourself. It’s also helpful to let them know that you’re feeling better when your break is over.
Nicole Gregory is a Los Angeles writer/editor and mother of a 10-year-old boy.