Parenting Answers

How do I navigate this?

First, I want to validate that what you are going through is incredibly difficult due to the complexities of the families we marry into. The family is correct in saying that they have all known each other before you. Even though you come in with a role that is significant to theirs. They are correct in wanting to help and be there for the daughter at all costs. They are not correct in how they are going about it, however.  In these situations, we ask ourselves, "what is my role here?" We always have a part in how we play in any family dispute. We cannot overlook this, even when their moods are erratic and reactive and their perspectives are misguided. One thought I have when I read this was, "what happened between you and your daughter to the point where she doesn't want to go to the wedding?" You guys have been around each other for years, and now she decides to take a stand? Is there anything that can be discussed about this situation to help the individual resolve her situation on her own?  So, you are stuck in the family with people on your husband's side who have turned against you. They have revealed their hand in that they will not have your back. It is for these reasons you have to navigate with an awareness of yourself, your emotions, and thoughts, and an awareness of what in life gets your attention causing you to react in a way that could harm your chances of getting what you want.  I am not sure where your husband stands on this, but is he torn between family, between his child's mom, and also managing your relationship? I am not sure what the people in the girl's life feel about things and if they believe they are actually helping or if they are doing something to be defiant or to try to find a cause in life to justify behaviors? I am leaving you with more questions than answers, but the questions are to "navigate" what's next.   Navigation starts when we are aware of what we are navigating, practice the use of skills to cope and practice tolerance in understanding how to meet people where they are at. It's not how we navigate it but how we deal with the emotions triggered at work, school, or anywhere. Many specifics are probably not being met as expected here, but there is still a problem that you notice and then there is another way to visit this problem to be more effective.  I want you to write down what you think the problem is, really is, though. If you start to say you are angry or mad or other people made you upset, that is not the problem. The problem is what interferes with what you want in life or what interferes with things you hold very deeply. The problem is often very much in our minds and our inability to accept our role in situations. We can only control ourselves, so it is critical that we work in the one area we can work on, in us. Look at how you contributed then you can see others in this mess and ask yourself what you can do about them in your life. This isn't easy and is often not a solution to make you feel better, but you will learn to be more effective at getting what you want. 
(LCPC)
Answered on 11/04/2022

How to deal with life?

Hi Renee, Thank you for reaching out during this difficult time.  It sounds like you are feeling overwhelmed with several things which is not uncommon.  You are not the only parent to feel this way. I am glad you are advocating for both yourself and your children.  I am hopeful the doctor appointment after the holiday brings some answers to you along with some other supporting information.  If your eight year old is diagnosed with autism, there are a ton of resources out there for both you and your child.  There are support groups as well that if needed, could be a great benefit to you. Your message was vague so I am unsure what you are referring to when you talk about your teen not listening--if it is everyday tasks like clean your room or bigger life things like complete your college applications.  Regardless, teens do not listen to parents, their friends are far more influential in their life at this time than we as parents are.  Keep in mind their brains do not stop developing until the age 25-27 years old so they have a long way to go. Ask open ended questions, be inquisitive in a gentle way.  This is just an example, inquire why they do not want to clean their rooms and not only listen to their answer but hear them as well and decide if that is a battle you want to choose to fight.  You may want to consider instead of asking questions, framing things in sentences.  For example, say you are curious why they do not want to clean their room or say you are wondering what they are thinking when you ask them to do a certain task. Teens want to be heard and all behavior (for anyone) has meaning.  It is important to try and find out what need they are meeting with their behavior.  If they are not cleaning their room is it because they want to be in control with something or is it because it is not a priority to them like it is to you? You are not failing even though it may feel that way.  Parenting is hard, perhaps one of the hardest jobs we have as adults.  Think about what you can control and what you cannot control.  You can control your thoughts, your feelings, your behaviors/actions.  You cannot control other people's thoughts, feelings and behaviors.  You can control how you parent, how you approach your children.  You can control how you view yourself.  The more you think to yourself that you are failing, the more you will believe it.  Every time we think a thought, we connect neurons in our brain and dig a path and the more we think it the deeper the path gets.  As a result, we think the thought without realizing it and then the path continues to get deeper creating a vicious cycle. Look at the facts.  Do you have evidence to support your belief that you are failing?  My guess is probably not.  Look at the evidence to support where you are not failing and where you are succeeding.  I can already put two in that column--you are advocating for yourself by reaching out on this platform and you are advocating for your children by making the doctor appointment and trying to figure out how to reach your teen. I am hoping this feedback for you was helpful and I wish you the best on your journey moving forward. Best, Erica
(LISW-CP, LCSW-C, LCSW)
Answered on 10/31/2022

I have anger issues with my siblings and husband and kids.

Hello Nicky, Thank you for reaching out with your concern. I hope I can provide you with some explanations and a direction for your problem.  There was little information provided, but I will try and do my best to help you navigate this situation.In trying to understand your family systems, it seems like it was not the most functional environment.  Parents are supposed to help resolve issues amongst their children and if they show favoritism, it can naturally create a lot of hostility in the family.  Some children in the home may grow up feeling unheard, unloved, and may continue feelings of anger and resentment.  If favoritism was shown in the home, you possibly could have some deep rooted unresolved childhood issues or resentment and anger toward your siblings.   From a family dynamic point-of-view, it appears that you could have possibly learned that fighting is also a common behavior from your home life and upbringing.  If you grew up in a home environment where fighting was a normal part of life and there wasn't a way to resolve or deal with these arguments in an amicable way, then it is going to be normal for your to continue to fight with your siblings/with your family members.   I would recommend that you possibly work with a Marriage and Family Therapist who understands family dynamics to help you with these issues.  If your siblings are willing, it might be good for them to also attend sessions with you to help you all sort out any feelings of possible hatred, animosity, and contention towards one another.   If your family members do not wish to participate with you, it still may be good for you to attend by yourself to help you process these deep rooted issues of anger that stem from your family system.  Sometimes, family can be very toxic and when we are around them, we are triggered easily and those feelings that are not resolved are resurfaced.I hope my answers have helped to validate your feelings and my suggestions will be something for you to consider.  Above all, I hope you are one day able to feel better about your family and can resolve things on a happy note.
Answered on 10/29/2022

How do I deal with my dad's new wife who gaslights and manipulates me and my sisters?

Hello Flora, First, Congratulations on your upcoming graduation! Thank you for reaching out. You ask a wonderful question. You have a good awareness of the inappropriateness of your dad's wife and you are not wrong to be concerned or feel frustrated by this. You're right, this is an example of gaslighting behavior. It also sounds like she is bringing your dad into this now. I'm sorry to hear that this is now affecting your relationships. All of us are entitled to set and establish boundaries with those in our lives - friends, family, coworkers, neighbors, etc. As you mentioned, you are allowed 2 tickets to your graduation. It should absolutely be your choice whom you invite. Sounds like she was hurt and took offense to not being invited. That is, or should be, her issue and her problem. You did nothing wrong. Dad likely feels trapped in the middle of this and hears about it from her, so he is trying to smooth things over as best he can. He wants you to apologize to her so that she can feel that she was right. Is he wanting you to apologize for not inviting her or for how you responded to her message? I would also suggest showing dad the message she sent you, so that he can see directly for himself the reason(s) you were so upset. It is not your fault that she reacted and responded the way that she did. I suspect that this is not the first time something like this has come up with her?  If you and I were working together in therapy, I would want to explore more about your background and your relationship with your parents. This also puts you into a very difficult situation with your dad, too.  I would encourage you to use "I statements" with your dad. For example, " I did not like how she spoke to me, I felt attacked in her message, I feel that I am being made to feel guilty because xxx, etc.  I hope that you have found this information helpful and I wish you all the best on your journey!
Answered on 10/28/2022

How do I parent two strong-willed boys without going crazy ;)

Parenting is so hard, isn't it? We often question ourselves, our children, and our partners in this journey. It sounds like you're questioning if your 13 year old son's behavior is abnormal and if your response to him is appropriate. You mentioned that he seems to have an oral fixation and a lack of social cues, which is making it difficult for him to make friends. Without knowing him or talking more about him, it's hard to say if he has something going on, but I can say that those can be characteristics of several neurodivergent conditions. This might be something to bring up with his doctor as they often can perform screeners. They make jewelry such as chewy necklaces, fidget rings and bracelets, etc, that you can find on Amazon that he might find to be useful. I wonder if he might have some sensory issues going on that is causing him some anxiety and the need to chew. I wonder if he is triggered by loud noises, tight or loose clothing, or being around people he doesn't know? A simple google search for sensory needs could be helpful in your research. Strong willed children have amazing qualities and blow you away with their independence, but you aren't alone in finding it difficult to parent. It requires an amazing amount of patience and understanding to be a parent of a strong willed child. Having firm boundaries is also helpful because it helps us be consistent in our responses to them. This can be very difficult to implement because children will often increase the unwanted behavior to try and get what they want because it has worked for them in the past. However, you will find that if you continue to be consistent with your boundaries that the unwanted behavior will decrease over time. We have to remember to meet our own needs so that we can meet the needs of our children. If we aren't filling our own cup it makes it extremely difficult to fill up the cup of others, especially our children. Are you taking time for yourself? Centering yourself?  
Answered on 10/24/2022

How to manage the sadness of a breakup while co parenting

Dear Peace Time,   Relationships are hard, and coparenting is also hard. It sounds like you have been struggling with the changes for a while now. There is a certain amount of grieving that takes place with the ending of a relationship, even if it is ultimately the right thing for both parties. There is the grieving of the actual relationship to contend with, as well as the grieving of the what you thought the future would like. I imagine that not having your daughter full time is compounding what that process looks like for you.   It can be helpful for any parents that are co-parenting to seek out additional support and resources through out this adjustment period. There are some really great co-parenting classes, that can help with teaching skills for conflict and disagreements. If you are experiencing sadness and anxiety that are becoming more disruptive in your day to day life, it might be prudent to think about starting some counseling for yourself to learn some skills for managing those feelings and making sure that you ways to challenge unhelpful thoughts that can come up.   It is important to work on building a network and making sure you have some hobbies to help fill some of the new found free time. What were the things that made you happy and filled you up before you had a little one? Is there some of that you can incorporate back into your life?   There are also a lot of support groups for single parents, some of which you may be able to attend virtually, which can also help sometimes with feeling a sense of community and having that group of people that you know "gets it" and is struggling with similar issues and can provide insight into how they are coping and getting through the hard times. Additionally, possibly looking into self help resources such as workbooks or books about co-parenting or other self improvement topics.   I hope that this is answer is at least somewhat helpful Peace Time. Make sure that you are keeping up on self care and finding time to do the things that fill you up at the end of the day.   Lorraine
(MS, LCPC, NCC)
Answered on 10/24/2022

How do I pinpoint a trigger so I know what problem I need to work through?

Thanks for your question and for reaching out.  Sounds like you had a meaningful and healing time with your sisters talking about the past and in particular, your parents divorce.  As I have not met with you, the following are my thoughts in general about your question.   First,  I would not assume or be surprised if your reaction after returning home - irritable, anxious and tearful, is related to the events you discussed with your sisters.  You wrote that you "worked through" the content of what you and your sisters discussed.  I don't doubt that you worked on this in past therapy.  However, past loss, pain and trauma (if any) do not necessarily "go away", especially if your conversation with your sisters reminded/brought up some of your feelings about what you and your family went through.  In other words, processing feelings do not mean they are "gone."  It seems like you were angry, sad and anxious after the talk with your sisters.  If so, this is "normal" and understandable.  Dealing with feelings is sometimes a process of working them through and then needing to do so again when those feelings return. Secondly, I think it is important to give yourself some "grace" here.  You are human like the rest of us, and human beings have feelings.  However, as humans, our feelings sometimes "come and go."  So please, don't be anxious about feeling as you do.  Like most emotions, the intensity of your feelings will pass.  It is important to have faith in yourself that you will be okay - that this too shall pass. Finally, I would suggest not worrying about "why" you were triggered.   We humans usually want to know the "why."  I think it is important to remember that even when we don't know "why", it does not mean that we can't handle what is going on.  It just means, at the time, you don't know what is going on.  In all probability, even when you don't know the "why," your feelings will pass. Caring for five children under eight years old sounds challenging, particularly when you are triggered.  Wishing you all the best.  Please take care of yourself. Steve
(LCSW)
Answered on 10/23/2022

What can I do to help my 4yo stop her violent tantrum ?

Thank you for expressing your concerns in detail. Hopefully, I can provide you with some answers using behavior modification approaches to parenting your child.  When looking at the function of behavior, it seems that your child's behaving due to tangible items and possible for attention as well.  She seems to have you guys trained very well that when she wants something, and demands it, she will continue to have a tantrum until received. I would not suggest that your hug your child during a tantrum, that is reinforcing enabling and coddling behavior.  Instead, I recommend that you put firm boundaries down.  Take away anything she wants and if she is able to have it later, tell her when and only when she calms down.  You may need to put her in her room and close the door or put her in a chair and tell her she can get out once she is calm.  She then will be able to self regulate her own emotions and she will learn that she can only get what she wants or your attention if it is earned and when she completes the desired behavior which is to calm down and self regulate her moods.  Use positive reinforcement and words of encouragement at every sign of cooperation or calmness.It will be important for everyone who disciplines her to follow the same consequence.  If one person caves into your child's demands and gives her something she wants (tangible or attention) while she is acting out, then she is learning to have that behavior reinforced.   She will also learn to manipulate and split the caregivers against one another because one parent is allowing bad behavior.It will be important to be consistent for at least 30 days or until she learns that she will not receive and item until she is calm.  She may also need to learn "no" as a response if she is not able to obtain the item at a later time.  Remember, you get to chose which behavior you want to reinforce. If you give her items or attention when she is acting out, you are reinforcing it.  If you teach your child "No" or "At a later time" only when she is calm, she is learning that you are in control and only positive behaviors will be reinforced.Hope that helps and good luck!
Answered on 10/22/2022

i don’t have a question, just need to get feelings out

Hi, and thanks for reaching out. I'm sorry you're going through a really challenging time right now. Being a Mom is hard enough on its own...Being a teen is hard enough on its own! When the two are combined, there are definitely challenges to work through. Add to that the everyday difficulties of life and of being human, and it can *feel* all-consuming sometimes. ...But you can do it. It just takes time, persistence, and patience. :-) The first step is reminding yourself that life will not *always* be like this. You and your baby are still very much growing and changing, and the way your life looks right now isn't what it will be like 5 years from now. Sometimes when life isn't going as planned, we feel suffocated and/or like it will never change...but if we keep our perspective and keep moving forward in *some* way -- no matter how small -- we'll eventually see the results of our efforts. The second step is to figure out what you want in life. Yes, whatever your goals are, they may be a little more challenging (okay, maybe a *lot* more challenging) because you're a Mom and your boyfriend is away in the military right now, but having a sense of direction (*some* sense of direction) will help a little bit to relieve your feelings of being trapped. Having something to work toward that's important to you and your new little family can give you that sense of purpose and orientation toward the future that will help you endure the circumstances of your current situation that are leading you to feel stuck. Another important piece would be to seek out sources of emotional support. I'm sorry to learn that your Mom is no longer a source of emotional support for you; I hope that will change in time and that the two of you will reunite. In the meantime, it's super important that you not feel alone during this particular phase of your life and your child's development. If you can join a Mom's support group (I'd provide links to resources, but I don't know where you're located, so a quick internet search should bring up some specific, local resources for you), a play group for kids that allows the moms to interact, or even a therapist that works with new and/or teen moms (whether here on BetterHelp or in-person at perhaps a local non-profit clinic). Often times, there are income limits that allow someone in your situation to even receive free counseling. The important thing is to stay connected (so as to reduce feelings of isolation) and keep your eye on the future (so you don't feel as trapped). In keeping with the knowledge that it won't always be this way, you might find it helpful to journal your feelings and what you're going through right now. You've been through a completely life-changing event over the past two years (and counting), and there's a lot to be learned from (and about) yourself as a result of having gone through this experience. It *will* make you stronger, and there's a pretty good chance your future self (and perhaps even your baby, years from now) will benefit from you having worked through these challenges in the form of journaling. Professionally-speaking, I've never had a client say they regretted working out their thoughts through journaling; they've always found a benefit to it. And it doesn't even matter so much *what* you write as it does the fact that you're spending time with yourself and allowing those thoughts in your head some breathing room by getting in touch with them consciously and getting them off your mind. Getting out of the house on a regular basis by going for walks (both by yourself and with baby) are great ways to shift your perspective and keep your eye on the future. The act of movement also keeps us from feeling stuck, keeps our mind and body functioning well, and from getting too emotionally low (there are actually "sciency" reasons behind that, which I won't get into here). It also helps with regulating our sleep/wake patterns (which may already be wonky, due to baby learning how to sleep independently, etc.). Focus on being present while you're out on walks with baby, and perhaps allow yourself the chance to dream about the future you'd like for yourself when you're out on walks alone. Both are important, and dreaming is the very first step towards a life that's different from the one you're experiencing now. If you catch yourself in a negative thought spiral (like thinking something's too hard, or you can't do it, or focusing excessively on perceived obstacles), tell yourself to "stop" and shift your attention to something happening in the moment that involves your five senses. Look for the evidence of your negative thoughts, and when you don't find it, develop a more reality-based, reasonable alternative thought. If you're having a really hard time doing this (as many people do), consider working with a therapist to teach you how to reframe your negative and/or self-defeating thoughts. In the long run, it will help both you and your baby -- trust me. Drink plenty of water, and eat a well-balanced, healthy diet that includes lots of fruits and vegetables. I know you've probably heard this a million times, but it truly does make a difference to your emotional health (believe it or not) if you're fueling your body with nutrients instead of empty calories. You truly are what you eat.... And last (but definitnely not least), spend some time thinking about your own personal values -- not your Mom's values, not your family-of-origin's values, and certainly not society's values. Your own values -- what *you* believe is most important to *you* in life. What kind of person do you want to be? What kind of people do you want in you and your child's life? What kind of Mom do you want to be? What values do you want to raise your child with? What's important to you in this world? What do you absolutely, positively need in your life in order to feel fulfilled? What brings you a sense of meaning and purpose? ...And then look at your life to see in what areas are you already living your values, and in what areas you might be able to make some adjustments in order to more closely align with your values. When you *know* what's important to you in this life and are actively living those important things, it can guide all of your decisions and even though it may not necessarily make those decisions "easy" all of the time, it pretty much ensures you'll be living a life without regrets that's fulfilling both in the present *and* the future. Best wishes to you and your little family!
(M.A., LMFT)
Answered on 10/21/2022

How can I work through past traumas and issues?

Hi Raielle, Thank you for a very thoughtful question that illustrates how complicated our relationships can be as we struggle with resolving our past. In order to have the best shot at forging healthy relationships in the present, it can be vital to address the issues from our past that linger or affect us emotionally in the present, since it is very easy for loved ones in our present to trigger situations or memories of our past, without even trying. Of course therapy is a wonderful way to learn skills to reprocess our history so we can move past it and move on, and I would recommend pursuing some level of counseling to gain insights and new tools to accomplish the goals you mentioned. In short, however, our relationships with others can be hindered if our relationship with ourself needs adjusting first. A difficult time connecting with others usually suggests we may have a difficult time connected with ourselves. Doing some work on our self-esteem can be helpful, as well as learning to forgive ourselves, to let go of past wrongs, and to be able to see how our past shapes our resilience. I think it is important to accept that genetically speaking, there are certain traits or aspects of our parents that we may not be able to change, but that the traits we don't like having acquired, are always offset by the other genes that came from the other parent, as well as the complicated distribution of genes that may come from elsewhere in the family tree. So we can reassure ourselves that we will never totally "turn into" one or the other parent, by default of the genetic distribution. And that what traits or patterns we may have acquired that we don't like, we can definitely work on towards self-improvement. Many people have or had parents who were undiagnosed and untreated, and if anxiety and depression run in your family and you have been diagnosed with these things, the good news is that in today's world, we CAN treat anxiety and depression so that we don't have to repeat some of the mistakes of days past. Current research shows a combination of therapy and medication yields the most effective results. Family therapy with your daughter is also a good idea, to improve the dynamics and to cultivate a deeper connection. There are particular modalities of evidence-based therapy, too which address trauma in particular, with precision and good results, such as trauma-focused cognitive behavior therapy (TF-CBT) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). Also, there are lots of resources out there, as well, such as videos and podcasts and books which teach grounding skills for trauma and anxiety, coping skills for depression and support groups and forums. And more recently, there have been strides in "food for mood" strategies using nutrition-based, natural and holistic types of treatment, as well as movement and creative arts therapies targeting anxiety, depression and trauma and many other conditions. Learning about the mind-body connection can help us break free from our past and instill hope towards healing. Our children always benefit from seeing us address our personal struggles in healthy ways, from seeing us take care of ourselves. It teaches them how to manage their own struggles and the challenges they also may face when they are a parent. You have a much better chance of learning ways to manage your symptoms today than your parents may have in their generation. It is a process, though, so try not to get spooked by the bits and pieces of your mother's tendencies you may bump into from time to time that certain situations or things may trigger, and remember the bigger picture and the different journey you are on and destined to travel.  Thank you, Raielle, and best wishes for strength, healing and wellness. ~~Barbara Leigh, LPC-S
(M.S.Ed., LPC-S, NCC)
Answered on 10/15/2022

Can I help our son?

Good morning Enlightened Mum, Thank you so much for sharing your question and I'm sorry to hear about the circumstances and your family that are causing your current distress.   It sounds like you are feeling worried about your son noticing the behavior he is presented with in his current relationship with his girlfriend. From what you were sharing, as a mom my myself I can understand the stress and worry that is presenting - seeing your son make choices that you are worried about affecting him long-term.   It is tough to determine the middle path to ensure that you are voicing your concerns about this relationship while also showing that you are here for your son for emotional support at any stage in this process.   It is important to communicate that you are a safe support that work and will never ostracize or isolate your son for the behaviors that are happening right now. He mentioned that his girlfriend seems to be isolating him from other social supports, which is a red flag and can be indicative of an abusive relationship dynamic. The tricky part is because your son is an adult, he has the right to move forward with his relationship in the way that he is, even though you see the cracks in the foundation and fear the outcome for your son, if that makes sense?   I encourage you to continue communication with your son letting him know you were here when he's ready, you will always be a support network and a safe person for him to lean on. And even if he pulls away from the relationship dynamic and family, you are continuing to support him and be there for him from afar - you want to make sure he feels safe enough to come back and lean on you if things go astray in the relationship.  Another thing you might wanna think about is the fact that you are grieving the loss of the relationship with your son in childhood. It is really tough to see our Children grow up and make decisions that we do not approve of or we fear put them in harms way. As a child, you were able to protect your son and control more of the environment he was in, people he was around, decisions he was making, and now you're having to grieve the loss and this relationship is a stark reminder of that.   It is important to acknowledge and hold space for your grief during this process. Grief is not a linear process and even though there are stages to grief, your experience with grief likely will not feel very linear. You likely will have moments of sadness and depression, followed by moments of anger and frustration, then maybe glimmers of acceptance before you fall right back into denial in shock and this is all a normal part of the healing process.   Having space to fully feel through these emotions is going to be really important so that you can keep yourself supported during this really intense chapter of your life. I would encourage you to carve out time to either journal, meditate, talk with loved ones, and fuel your own individual self-care so that you are able to continue to do this really intense emotional work.   This is where the process of getting individual counseling for yourself might be incredibly effective. BetterHelp has a number of resources and providers with different expertise, treatment modalities, and support areas that might benefit you during this time in your life. You do not have to go about this alone! And it is important to lean on others and ensure your mental health is a priority as you're navigating the circumstances with your son.   BetterHelp makes it easy to find the therapist that is right for you. When you sign up for BetterHelp, you will complete a short questionnaire asking you your preferences for treatment including any type of gender, treatment methods, expectations, and needs that you have. After this, BetterHelp will assign you the therapist that fits the questionnaire best for you. Therapy is not one size fits all! BetterHelp makes it easy to switch your counselor if the first fit is not right for you. This is normal and important to allow yourself space to find a therapist that feels safe, comforting, and validating during this tough time in your life.   Your therapist can help you with many different things but one thing that might be incredibly helpful is creating a healthy self care regimen to support you during this difficult chapter. You cannot pour from an empty cup and taking care of your own emotional needs is a really important part of setting a healthy boundary and also modeling appropriately for your son as well.   Your therapist can be your biggest cheerleader, accountability partner, listening ear who is able to provide advice, and somebody who is able to hear you and validate your concerns and also guide you as you navigate to relationship with your son effectively.   It is helpful to have a safe space to communicate these feelings to an outside source who has no connection or personal relationship to the circumstances with your son. Having a dedicated space to focus on yourself every week like therapy is a good start any healthy self care regimen.  It is important acknowledge your own feelings in this process and know that you are not alone. You do not have to go about this without support and it is important to remind yourself to fill your cup first so that whenever your son is ready to come and ask for support you are ready to give it!   Starting the process of counseling can be incredibly difficult but you made a big step today asking this question! Take the step to sign up for services and give yourself the space to heal! I promise you it is a decision you will not regret! I wish you best of luck in your healing journey!
(LPC, LMHC, MS)
Answered on 10/11/2022

My 18 year old literally makes a fight out of everything I say.

Paloma: Thank you for reaching out with your question about a legally adult child and the change in your relationship.  The good news is that your daughter wants a good relationship with you.  That says a lot about your parenting.  It seems that the two of you have not gone through some of those normal mother-daughter blow-ups that begin to happen as a girl becomes a woman in her teenaged years.  They are delayed for her and are most likely stemming from the new experiences she is having in her six weeks of college.  She is not aware of how much college has changed her already.  She wants the connection to her family that has given her a sense of self, but she is not aware of how much she is being influenced by her new friends. When it comes to our adult children, it is a whole new way of experiencing them and being with them.  They demand freedom but they are still very dependent.  They are dependent financially and whether they like to admit it or not they are dependent emotionally. You are growing in your understanding of how to connect with her too.  It is not the same in teaching her how not to cuss, fight and smoke weed.  It seems that you have taught her not to do these things, but she is experimenting with them in her new freedom.  What you must realize is that you cannot control her decision to cuss, fight and smoke weed, but you can control what you can control.  You can control the boundaries you will accept when she is in your home.  You want her to come home, but you still have boundaries.  You can ask her not to cuss, fight, or smoke weed when she is in your home.  One of the best ways you can reconnect with her is to ask her questions and really listen to her answers and help her think through the person she wants to be.  She has told you that she wants a relationship with you.  Tell her that you would like a relationship with her too.  You have noticed that she is changing in many ways.  You can ask her: “Why do you find your siblings so irritating?”  Tell her that you want to help the family to get along better and ask for her ideas of how to stop the fighting and to help grow in self-respect and respect of others different points of view.  Did you ever cuss because your friends did and found the use of language as a fast way to communicate or shock others?  Maybe you could share your experiences with cussing and how it made you feel.  Ask her about the change in her use of language these days.  Is it something that makes her feel less anxious and helps her fit in with her new friends?  Since you know that she is smoking weed, ask her how it improves her life and whether it interferes or helps her in her college goals. It is hard to be the bigger person right now, but she does need your input and she really wants it.  She wants to be close to you, and she recognizes that.  It is the foundation of the relationship that you have built over the years.  She will always be connected to you, but in her unfamiliar environment she is learning how to be separate from you as well. Mother-daughter relationships evolve over time.  What is most impressive to me is that she wants to feel connected to you.  Maybe you have been so in shock over the way she is behaving that you have backed away from her without noticing it as well.  You can tell her that you want to stay close to her too.  You want to be there for her no matter what happens in her life.  You can be honest that you do not like this cussing, weed smoking, fighting woman but you know that she is growing and changing over time and that she can count on the fact that your love for her will not change even if you do not agree with her behaviors and cannot support them.  Even adult children are always asking two questions: one. Do you love me? And two. Can I get my own way?  The answers are different with an adult child.  The answer to the first is always yes but the second is you can smoke weed, cuss and fight if that is what you want but I will not tolerate it in these ways (control what you can control).  You have done a wonderful job in raising her and she will get through these changes with your love and support.  
(D., Phil., LPC, LMFT)
Answered on 10/04/2022

Is BH appropriate for a parent/child therapy? Would my 12 yo be able to speak with a therapist?

The journey as a parent can often prove as being lonely, exhausting, frustrating, overwhelming, and draining.  The emotion that is contained within your written question, is truly known and heartfully felt.  Respectively, the heart-break is also both palpable and tangible throughout the provided question.  Therapy invites individuals of various ages to seek healing, psychoeducation, peace, restoration, and congruency.  Accordingly, there are copious options to consider when pursuing counseling.  Due to the countless avenues in which one can pursue, the counseling endeavor may seem daunting or intimidating.  While mindful of your current experience, it may be preferable for both you and your son to seek individual counseling.  Although your son would pursue counseling with a therapist who is specifically trained to attend to an adolescent population, you would seek out the services of a clinician who specializes in the treatment of adults.  Additionally, the possibility of introducing a Family Therapist, who would be inclusive toward the needs of both you and your son, might also be beneficial in resolving the present circumstances.  Perhaps, the Family Therapist may be able to include your boyfriend into joint sessions with both you and your son, as well.  Certainly, the theme of loss, abandonment, fear, reactivity, and transition abound within your son's experience.  A degree of patience, honesty, transparency, and trust is required within any counseling dynamic.  With particular sensitivity toward ethics, the format of adolescent counseling requires for the parent to provide both consent and assent in order for information to be gathered by the attending clinician.  The parent can sometimes be invited to be an active part within the adolescent counseling dynamic.  The unique opportunity in which this provides, allows for the parent to recognize and learn of the internal world of their adolescent, while further collaborating in the adolescent's growth.  Often, certain information will be presented to the attention of the parent at the conclusion of the session, especially when it is pertinent to the overall health of the adolescent client.  In many ways, the saying, "There is nothing to lose and everything to gain from the experience" is especially applicable in conjunction with the pursuit of counseling.  Although counseling can be intimidating, once the appropriate therapist is discovered, the transformation that can potentially unfold is immeasurable.  
Answered on 09/29/2022

How do I stop myself from being angry at my kids and husband?

Hi MP!  I'm Maya, one of the therapists here on the Better Help platform.  I specialize in relationship challenges and I also have a passion for early childhood wellbeing.  First let me say that the fact that you recognize the problem shows a lot of self insight.  And the fact that you're writing in for help shows a level of care and compassion for your children that I really wish more moms had!   Being a parent of 2 little ones under 3 is a handful!... and doing it in geographical isolation from family and friends is especially rough. It's great that you've made a small local friend group already! It's normal to feel anxious about driving around in a big and unfamiliar city, so I'd suggest exploring right around your home at first, then branching out gradually.  If you don't have an onboard GPS, use Google Maps on your phone and ask one of your friends to drive with you at first. Almost every city has fun things for children to do and see, many of them free or very low cost.  Investigate your city's offerings online, and set yourself a goal to try just one new thing per week with the kids, such as story hour at the library.   I feel your pain regarding the hot weather!  It does indeed make outdoor play time challenging. In hot climates, during the summer the trick is a nice early bedtime so that they'll wake up bright an early, that way you can get them out for some activity before the heat kicks in.  Parks with "splash pads" work well for the little ones during summer.  And then if it's cool enough in the evening before dark, get outdoors again, even if just for a family stroll.   Your feeling that you are raising the kids and doing the housework on your own is a VERY common feeling among 'stay-at-home' moms (and dads!) because they really ARE doing most of the child care and housework! And sometimes they even work outside the home part-time as well!   The spouse who works full time (or goes to school full time to be able to get a good job) IS contributing to the family welfare too, of course!  But (paid) work and school is usually not as RELENTLESS as child care and housework.  You mention that your husband "makes time" for you and the kids every day, but isn't that just part of the role of being a husband and father!?  I mean, YOU "make time" for him and the kids every day too, right?... even though you also have a job as a homemaker!  So here's the thing... unless your husband is doing a lot of childcare and housework in the evenings, and/or on his days off, the number of hours YOU work per week (doing child care and housework) is probably greater than the number of hours per week that your husband attends classes and attends to studying.   That unequal and unfair "division of labor" usually makes it very hard for the "stay at home" parent to make time for some regular SELF CARE and some ME TIME routines.  Those things are not luxuries, either!... they are 100% necessary for good mental health.  Otherwise, the stay at home parent usually becomes quite irritable, then downright angry and resentful.  And it's often very difficult for the parent who works (or goes to school) full time to sympathize with the "at home" parent, because let's face it... it's just hard to know how mind-numbing and grueling it can get, unless you've actually experienced it!    It is not your fault that this has happened and it is not your husband's fault either.  The two of you are actually being squeezed by an invisible monster of sorts... the broken ECONOMY!  Here in the USA (and in many other countries too) it is very difficult or impossible for most families to get by financially unless one or both parents OVERworks themselves in some way.  Very few families can afford to hire a part time housekeeper or nanny, which would very likely solve your problem!   Once the two of you realize that this is essentially an ECONOMIC problem, the two of you can TEAM UP to brainstorm some creative compromises and solutions, rather than you fuming inside! Couples therapy is ideal for that, and BetterHelp does offer online couple therapy through their sister site called Regain!  Individual therapy might be beneficial for you too.  Even an anger management workbook could help you a great deal, if you apply yourself to it.  And I suggest you get the book "The Power of Two" by Susan Heitler, to assist you (or better yet, the two of you!) with learning the ins and outs of really effective couple communication and negotiation.  How do I know you need a book like that?  Because if the communication in your relationship were optimal, the two of you would be calmly and creatively RESOLVING your areas of discontent, rather than allowing resentment to build.    Toddlers can be sooo difficult at times!  But this is also a fun and wonderful phase of childhood that will be over in the blink of an eye, I promise you!... and then you'll probably miss it!   So I want you to be able to fully ENJOY playing with your daughter, like you used to! ... and with your baby too, as gentle playtime ideally starts at birth! So to put the spark back in playtime again, DO work on the underling anger, either through therapy or self help!  Anger is a sign that PROBLEM SOLVING needs to happen, so I suggest you practice problem solving skills... there's lots of free advice about problem solving online, just Google the topic!  Don't let playtime become stale and boring!  Think of play as something you GET to do with your kids, not something you HAVE to do.  Look online for cheap new ideas for playtime fun.  Play with them YOUR way.  Me, I'm into crafts, so that's mostly what I like to do with my grand-daughters.  I also love reading stories to them.  They also have certain toys I find fun (or at least not too irritating or boring, haha).  There are so many types of play.  Explore imaginative play.  And games!  Bath-time fun.  And physical play too, like dance!    Being a good mom doesn't mean that you have spend ALL day long playing with your child. It's fine (and developmentally beneficial!) to let your children learn to "entertain themselves" some of the time. I encourage you to play a supporting role in that "independent play" sometimes, by simply sitting back and commenting in a neutral or positive way on what your children are doing.  Most kids love to play to an "audience" that way!   An hour per day (or a bit more if you're desperate!) of an age-appropriate children's TV show is fine too... get that Baby Einstein going, mom, so you can catch a break!  I'm a big fan of the 'old school' stuff like Sesame Street and classic Disney cartoons for the wee ones, and once she's 3+ she may love Dora The Explorer, which is also educational. Outsource some playtime too!... join or start a play-group with other moms, or sign your 2.5 year old up for a Gymboree class or something similar.   Motherhood!  It's not easy, but it IS your job.  It's the job you chose for yourself.  And like any job, you've got to accept that it's got its upsides and  downsides.  It's easy to "burn out" on the downsides unless you find ways to get some ME TIME in your day/week, AND infuse the 'playing with my kids" time with some novelty. GRATITUDE can also help.  Start a gratitude journal where every night before bed you write down one thing you're grateful for, even if it's just vanilla bean ice cream or something hilarious that your daughter said.   And whatever you do, don't obsess about the housework or be a perfectionist!  Establish a minimum baseline of "tidy" and "clean" and shoot for that baseline, not the stars!  In ten years time, no one (including you) will care whether your pantry is perfectly organized right now, and whether the laundry is caught up.  What matters is your RELATIONSHIP with yourself, your spouse, and the children.  Cultivate those relationships, tend to them as if they are your garden, with love and care, and watch them bloom!  Hope this helps some!  Maya 
(MS, LMFT)
Answered on 09/09/2022

Postpartum anxiety/stress…. How to handle life changes for a first time mom?

Hello there and thank you for your question. Firstly, congratulations on your new baby, this is an exciting time for you and your family!  I hear your concerns with postpartum anxiety and you are correct, what you are experiencing is very normal right now, especially so soon from your delivery.  There are so many changes that occur when we give birth, so many hormonal shifts, and transitions.  Your doctor is correct that a lot of these postpartum issues may very well pass with some more time.  These are all things to continue to be aware of and take note of how you are feeling.  You may want to consider a mood tracker, such as a mood app on your phone, so that you can take note of any changes and patterns and report them to your doctor in the future. The day to day of taking care of a newborn is very stressful and exhausting. You most likely are in survival mode right now, existing on little sleep and the sleep you do get is interrupted. I encourage you to invest in yourself whenever you can, indulge in self-care, if only for five minutes a day. Try to eat a healthy meal, drink lots of water, watch some guilty pleasure T.V., whatever feels good for you right now. You are focused on taking care of your baby, as you should be, but you also need to take care of yourself too. Maybe call in reinforcements, like family, if possible to do chores around the house for you, or watch the baby for a bit while you rest. There is no shame in asking for help and we all need our community at these difficult times.  You will want to set up your own routine of self-care when you are able to to combat some of the anxiety you are feeling. Also, try to validate your feelings at this time, it is difficult and your body is adjusting to a lot. Try to be gentle and patient with yourself as you move forward in this journey. You can also consider signing up for therapy as a source of support and a resource to further discuss healthy coping mechanisms during this time. Best wishes and hang in there, you got this!
Answered on 08/26/2022

I tried to sign up for BetterHelp but it paired me with a therapist that only does texts

Hello and thank you for your question.  You are able to request a different therapist at any time with or without notice to your current therapist.  There should be an icon on your Dashboard that says "Change Counselor" from the drop down on the top right corner.  If you do not see this, you can go to the support tab and request a different therapist.  You can also send an email to contact@betterhelp.com if you are having trouble with the drop down.  It would be a good idea to express the reason for the change in the feedback box.  This will help the system better match people. You will also be offered an opportunity to work with me since I am answering your posted question. I am Eboni Long and I am a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I tend to work more with couples and like to know about the systems that are causing problems for my clients. I would love to talk with you and your husband about the struggles you are having with your childrens' behavior and help find some solutions that will work for you and your family. I, too, prefer video sessions. Texting sometimes seems impersonal and a lot becomes lost in translation. However, I do tell my clients that if they have quick questions throughout the week and in between scheduled sessions that they can use the chat thread to communicate with me. I like to support my clients as they try the interventions we discuss in session. Sometimes it becomes difficult to keep doing an intervention in harsh circumstances, such as when it's late at night or your child's behaviors have been poor for a long period of time, for example. This is not a crisis platform, but sometimes it helps to have people available to walk you through the things they have asked you to try. I would love to be that person for your family, to help you all reach the goals you have set for yourselves.  If you have any further questions please do not hesitate to reach out for support. We are here to help. Thank you.
(LMFT)
Answered on 07/21/2022

My daughter is 18 she is giving me a hard time, not listening or respecting my wishes

Thank you very much for sharing this question. I absolutely understand your doubts as it is a very difficult situation. There are some challenging topics involved: end of adolescence/ early adulthood, boundaries, family dynamics... Besides, this kind of impasse, where defending your daughter makes your husband get angry and doing the opposite makes your daughter get angry, is a completely unpleasant, unfair and ungrateful situation for you, as you are just trying to do the best for your family and you are having only arguments as a result instead of the appreciation you deserve. As far as I am concerned, there are 3 things that could be useful in this situation, all of them related to communication and related to each other: empathy, assertiveness and boundaries. Obviously, it shouldn't be a work for you only, as it is situation where there are 2 more people involved, but I will focus on the part that can be done from your side. Empathy is not only about taking the other one's side or putting yourself in the other one's shoes, but also is about going a bit beyond that: understanding why the other person feels the way they are feeling and behaves the way they are behaving; understanding the other's side in the other's circumstances. Once we can fully understand the other person's side, it is easier to approach them to find an agreement. Assertiveness is the ability that allows us to respect our points of view while respecting the other's points of view, including good tone and manners and statements focusing in the way I feel rather than what we think about the others. For example, it is more useful to say "I don't feel listened to" than saying "You are not listening to me". When we say "You are not listening to me", people sometimes get hurt or defend themselves attacking, as they feel attacked, even though it is not what we are doing. Assertiveness is important as it could give you the chance to let them know how you feel and why they should listen to you better. It will be good to take into an agreement. Boundaries are something needed to set and it's not easy at all with young adults. It is better when boundaries are set in a democratic way (listening to each other, finding an agreement, done with love, but being respected) than when they are set in a autocratic way (mandatory, without love, without listening) or in a not supervisional way (listening, love, agreement, but without being clear and not being respected). To find the democratic way to set the boundaries is really important to use the empathy and the assertiveness to find the best agreement between the whole family. It seems difficult, but it all can be done and can be taught and practiced, to achieve the best outcomes little by little.
(Master's, Degree, in, Third, Generation, Psychological, Therapies, Bsc, in, Psychology, Msc, in, Prevention, of, Addictions)
Answered on 07/16/2022

I need help with dealing with a narcissistic Mother and difficult relationship.

Hi Maggie, I can see that you have quite a struggle on your hands with dealing with not one but two parents who have complex personalities, so I am glad that you are considering seeking help and support from a professional mental health therapist with this. The good news is that you have already made your first step towards healing and setting yourself up for success in recognizing that you have the power to put a stop to the generational patterns. By attending to some boundaries for yourself as well as attending to your needs, you will set the foundation for change for you and your children. You can break the patterns and there is professional help available for you at BetterHelp. I will share some tips and strategies you can begin to consider to help get you on your way to creating some changes for  you and your family. Acceptance and Letting Go I am sure you have realized by now that you just can’t seem to ‘win’ or even get a break with your parents.  This is because someone with narcissistic traits needs and thrives on control and there is likely to be very little compromise on their end. Accepting who your parents are can go a long way to reducing your own anxiety.  The negative words and actions aimed at you are mere projections of how they feel about themselves, and they are deeply wounded people.  You mentioned that you are aware of the generational patterns from your grandparents and perhaps the generation before – knowing such matters allows us to be compassionate about our parents and help us accept that maybe if things had been different for your parents growing up things might have been quite different for you. Recognize Gaslighting Attempts It is not uncommon for a narcissistic parent to confuse us as a child with their perceptions of truths, often making a child feel baffled, lost and even mystified.  If you continue to have this experience, try to stay grounded in real facts and resist getting sucked into their world  – fact check if you need to, talk with someone you trust if this helps. Compassion Helps Though they may not show it, understanding that deep down the narcissistic parent does care about you can go a long way to maintain your relationship with your parents, as well as helping to keep your self-esteem in good order.  Beneath the harsh exterior is often a wounded and deeply sensitive person that needs a lot of compassion and understanding from you. Prioritize Self-Compassion After having a difficult childhood that most likely lacked compassion, it is time you give that compassion to yourself.  Be kind to yourself and knowing you are doing your best will go a long way to attending to your self worth. Recovering from such a childhood is not an easy process. It will take time. Be patient and let go of any self-blame you might be holding on to.  It is okay to put your needs first. Take time for yourself. It is okay if you do not have the energy to support others. It is okay to say no without offering an explanation.   Reaching out for help from a professional therapist would be a great support to you with this! Seeking Out A Solid Support System Seeking support from others is crucial. If you don’t already have a good social support network around you already this is something that you and a therapist can work on together. Boost Your Self-Confidence and Self-Worth It is important to recognize your self-worth and build a solid foundation for yourself, so you are confident and equipped for the world.  There are effective ways to do this - one way is to engage in activities that increase your skills and abilities – this goes a long way to boosting our self-confidence.  Take up a new fun hobby, join a fun group such as a yoga class or Zumba class.   Assert Your Boundaries You mention that you struggle with setting boundaries – if you need help with this your therapist can teach you how to do this.  A narcissistic parent can often test and step all over your boundaries. Learning how to set firm boundaries and enforce consequences when they are crossed will allow you maintain a relationship with your parents and is healthy for you. Be Transparent With Your Plans Be transparent with your parents.  State your plans and intentions clearly and concisely. Be upfront that you recognize their undesirable behaviors for what they are, and set a boundary that you will not accept his from them.  Laying out your rules (boundaries) allows for your personal growth in the relationship you have with your parents. Stay Alert Narcissists can be complicated and complex, take a moment to step back and consider their behaviors and you might be able to see that their behaviors can be expected and are often predictable. This can help you predict their actions so you are not caught off guard and therefore, you will not be blindsided by their actions. Even if you are wrong, there can be some benefit to being prepared.  It’s unlikely their narcissistic traits will simply stop, so staying alert and mindful can go a long way to mitigating any potential damage in the future. Take a Step Back There can be a lot of societal pressure to maintain family relationships, but these relationships may do more bad than good. Spend some time considering the prospect of limiting contact if necessary. In some cases ending the relationship may be the only helpful option.  I am sure it is apparent to you that these suggestions are easier said than done.  I know it can be so challenging to deal with a narcissistic parent on your own and you seem to have both parents to deal with, so I do encourage you to reach out to a therapist for support and guidance in navigating through this. Finding the support from an experienced professional therapist – someone who is committed to helping you - will be a great support for you as you navigate setting up some needed boundaries and being there for you. I wish you luck with your next step in finding the right support for you.  Best Wishes, Gaynor
(MA, LCSW)
Answered on 06/17/2022

How to help and discipline a ADHD toddler

Smart children can be very challenging to raise!  You said a toddler, and so I am wondering how much language she has yet.  But one thing that is true for even the youngest babies is that you connect with them by helping them to feel that you understand what they are trying to communicate, and they can count on you to take care of their needs at least the majority of the time.  Remember that children do want to be good, and your love is the most important thing to them above everything else.  The thing that children fear the most is losing their parents, and to a child, they imagine that if you are not pleased with them you could reject them and they could lose you.  It might not always seem that way, but that is what matters the most to a very young child.  They want to be good.  They want to be loved.  They want you to know that they are trying. But children don't have all of the skills that they need to be good all of the time.  It is difficult even for adults to manage their emotions when emotions get intense.  Children are full of inner conflicts.  As much as they want your approval, they also have a powerful need to learn about their environment, to experiment, and to assert their independence.  And that combination can really get them into trouble.  Sometimes they are deliberately testing their limits to make sure that you still love them, no matter what they do, and that can be incredibly frustrating.  It is also developmentally normal, to an extent. Your job is to teach her the limits so that she can be safe and grow and mature and ultimately become more trusted and independent. As frustrating as it is, all of these challenging behaviors and difficult emotions are opportunities to bond and strengthen your relationship with your child.  John Gottman, one of the best known family therapists, has outlined a technique called "Emotion Coaching and Problem Solving" for helping parents to learn how to teach and coach their children through difficult emotions and challenging behavior.  You can read more about it in Gottman's book, "Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child." The first step is to be aware of your child's emotions.  The second step is to recognize that when your child is experiencing difficult emotions (which often leads to impulsive behavior), that is an opportunity for you to bond with your child. Third, tune in to what your child is communicating (verbally or non-verbally).  Listen with empathy and validate how the child is feeling.  Feelings are never wrong - they just are.  Feelings are not the same as behaving though. Fourth, help your child to learn to identify their feelings and the words for them, and to be able to express their feelings with words. I realize that this may sound like reasoning.  The difference is that reasoning expects your child to recognize the logic in what you are saying to her, while emotion coaching is about you listening to your child and helping her to feel heard and to communicate better.  The focus is on what your child cares about the most right then in that moment, and that is something that she will be motivated to connect with. The final step in emotion coaching is problem solving.  Sometimes you won't even need this step once your child feels understood and can say how she feels with words.  When you do need a problem solving step, the way that it works is to guide your child to find a solution, while teaching limits and exploring the consequences or "what ifs."  As much as she is able to, ask your child what needs to be done.  Ask her what will happen if you do what she is proposing, and help her to shape that into a reasonable and appropriate solution.  For example, if she ran into the street, of course you are going to stop her and make sure that she is safe.  You will probably be scared and mad and upset because she could have gotten hurt.  Recognize your own emotions and what you need to do to regulate your emotions.  And then see if you can understand what your child is feeling.  Be curious about why she did that.  Was she frustrated because she wanted to go play in the park and you told her no?  Recognize that this is an opportunity to understand each other and bond together.  Validate her frustration (even if she can't go play in the park right now, she can still be frustrated).  Help her to name that feeling.  Explain that she can't go play in the park and she has to stay with you and out of the street.  Ask her what she thinks would help her to stay safe and out of the street and also help her to feel better.  Explore those ideas and come up with a plan together based on her own suggestions.
(MS, CMHC)
Answered on 06/10/2022

How can I control my temper to be a better parent?

Hi Mom...Yes you are right parenting is a challenging time.  Emotions emerge that we didn't even know we carried. Our own childhood issues start to emerge and we start to process three worlds.  The past, present and future. Reminding yourself that no one is perfect and as much as we try, we are humans and we will all make mistakes.  Giving ourselves the daily grace to forgive ourselves is a start.   Other things that you could process is focusing on self care.  Yes, I know it is difficult but it is not an excuse to not take care of yourself. Even if it is for small amounts at a time.  Five minutes of deep breathing.  Splashing water on your face.  Going into your vehicles and shutting the door and screaming as loud as you can.  Calling a friend.  Rolling in the grass with the children.  Going for walks.  Sneaking away for a tea or coffee. I would also take a look at your triggers.  What is the trigger really about.  Is this from your past.  Is it a frustration of yourself such as not fulfilling what you "thought life would be".  What were your expectations of parenting?  Can you look at your expectations and maybe let some of them go.   I challenge my parents to remain in the present.  Stay in the present and focus on the moment. If we keep looking for a better day it may not come for awhile.   Maybe taking each day and naming the positives even with your children.  Be the example to them of how you can take control of of your day by taking control of the only thing that you can is ourselves.  Celebrate the small wins.   Remind yourself that when we yell it is because we are acting in on emotions.  Check yourself first before responding.  Take a physical step back and pause and ask yourself, "How will my next response benefit this situation".  I believe if parents "listen" more than an immediate response, children will use those same skills. If there is any way you can seek a healthy support person to chat with or even enter therapy to have a supportive non judgmental therapist you can create an understanding with yourself and a relationship with yourself. 
(M.A., LMFT, M.A., LPCC)
Answered on 06/07/2022