How to control your temper with your kids when you work from home

Often find yourself shouting at your children when trying to meet an urgent deadline or you’re having a bad day? Learn how to control your temper with your kids when you work from home.

Kids can be trying at the best of times. But when you are busy running a business or working from home, and trying to manage your workload, deadlines, stress and children, it’s not surprising if you sometimes find your temper a little frayed.

So how can you learn to stay calm when juggling everything? How do you stop yourself losing your temper with your children – and getting too stressed to work effectively (and feel like a bad mum later when you have calmed down)? Wendy Bateman from Choose U shares her tips.

We take our frustrations out on the people we love

One question I get asked a LOT when coaching people is: “How can I run a successful business and control my temper with the kids?”

As we strive to be the best at everything, we often lose our temper along the way, and sometimes our frustrations are taken out on the people we love the most.

Does this sound familiar? I run my business from home and I find that it is a constant juggling exercise between the children, running the house and my work commitments.

So how can we attempt to do both? When we lose our temper we are usually very angry and this is an emotion we all feel to a greater or lesser extent. But it is also an emotion that can erode our happiness and ultimately make us less effective in all areas of our lives.

Anger is a fuel of negativity and can often make us irrational and leave us feeling guilty and unhappy. So how can you control yours when you work from home? Here’s how I achieve it (most of the time!).

I practice putting things into perspective

When I am about to blow a gasket because the kids have (yet again) destroyed my tidy house – their socks are downstairs in between the sofa gaps, their shoes are in the corridor, a prime tripping position, their crumbs from their snacks are scattered everywhere as they find it difficult to use a plate – I always try to put things into perspective.

They are only going to be young once. And while this may be a cliché, it’s also true. Are their socks really doing any harm? Can I vacuum tomorrow and be thankful they are healthy children loving their treats? And in a few years’ time I will be wishing the corridor was cluttered with shoes as the house is far too quiet.

I’m not saying that we have to let everything go, but we need the anger to dissipate before we can deal with the problem.

To put it bluntly, we make the situation worse when we are angry. Not only that, if you then try and return to something productive in your workplace when you’re furious, you will almost certainly not be at your best!

How we speak impacts the outcome

The way we speak to our children is crucial in determining the way they will react. Firstly, and most importantly I have stopped saying “WHY…” as it always means that the person on the receiving end is in defensive mode.

If I say angrily to my eldest, “I can’t believe it, why haven’t you used a plate? …” straight away he is negative and in defensive mode. I feel angry, he feels angry and shouted at and both of us feel aggrieved.

So instead of shouting, I try to take a deep breath and put things into perspective. With a calm and humorous tone I say, “Ah, thank you for taking your socks upstairs and into your wash basket, it’s so thoughtful of you”. It’s quite funny actually, as my son looks at me with confusion.

Then he usually responds with a laugh and “Oh yeah, sorry mum, I’ll take them upstairs”. When I take away the ‘why?’ and use positive language and humour, it tends to reduce the negativity and I find that I can reason more.

Positivity diffuses the situation

Maybe this seems too soft? Let’s face it, kids should do as they are told, shouldn’t they? But I have found that if I use a more positive approach, it diffuses the situation and then I am able to have a calm conversation about the importance of helping each other around the house.

Also, not having a big argument makes me feel a lot happier and less guilty when they have gone to bed. Then, if there is some work I need to finish, I am in a much better place (psychologically) to get it done.

With a bit of compromise, diplomacy and humour, I can do both well – work from home and be a calm and happy mum. Try it yourself!

Wendy is an experienced teacher, personal trainer and NLP coach and owner of Choose U, a unique personal development and confidence building programme for groups of women in Manchester and Cheshire.