What punishment do parents overuse

Emergency aid for
angry parents

It's unbelievable how angry we can be at our children at times! We asked the Kleinstadt editorial team what strategies other parents have for difficult situations - and were surprised by the wealth of ideas and suggestions. Perhaps there is also a tip for you that appeals to you? Thanks in particular to Anja, Karin, Milena and Yolanda for the inputs - others are very welcome in the comments section!


  • Get enough sleep. If the nights are tough, get enough sleep by taking turns sleeping in the guest room once or twice a week, if there is one. If this is not the case, alternately use ear plugs once or twice a week and, in consultation with the partner, hand over 100% responsibility for the night to the partner, so that everyone has at least one uninterrupted night per week.
  • Early detection. Make yourself aware again and again that impulses of anger are not just nasty impulses that have to be suppressed, but an important indicator - a natural alarm system, so to speak, that shows that the family system is overloaded. The fuse only blows out when the circuit is overloaded. So if you notice that the anger arises, you shouldn't brush it under the rug in shame, but discuss with someone later in the evening how you can take the stress out of everyday life (with your partner, friends, siblings, your own parents).

Anger impulses are not just nasty impulses that have to be suppressed, but an important indicator that shows that the family system is overloaded.

  • Gratitude rituals. A friend introduced her eight-year-old daughter to the fact that she would tell her three things every night before bed that gave her joy that day. As parents warn, urge, and control so often during the day, they both find these conversations very connecting. Somehow this has reduced the (previously intense) tensions between them.
  • Talk about feelings. Tell the children if you B. is very tired, had a difficult day etc. and cannot take it much anymore. If this does not happen too often, even small children can show some consideration.
  • Do therapy or coaching. That sounds incredibly exhausting now, but it just helps a lot to find out why your own child is so annoying in certain situations. It actually mostly comes from your own childhood. For example, I've found that when I feel overwhelmed, I revert to that little overwhelmed child that I used to be. Then telling me that I am no longer that helps. This book could also help an interview with the author here.
  • Learning from the Inuits. Our anger is not inevitable, but ultimately a product of our socialization and upbringing. The Inuits prove that there could be another way, namely without yelling at all. Here is an exciting contribution including a podcast to listen to (in English).
  • If circumstances allow again: Fly out. Every couple of weeks, each parent goes alone with the offspring to the grandparents / to the goddess or similar to spend the night, so that the “left behind” has the apartment and a little free time to himself. This is completely different from having a babysitter!

Our anger is not inevitable, but ultimately a product of our socialization and upbringing.

Emergency aid

  • Determine a «Safeword». I told my son to remind me of this sentence whenever I get loud: "Mom, I'm just a child!" Works wonders against anger.
  • To breathe. Take several deep breaths. Try to breathe deeply into your stomach, maybe the child will join in. Or maybe watching the child distracts them a little when they're in a fit of anger themselves.
  • Let out. If you have to scream: scream into a closet or the shower cubicle. Always makes us happy.

If you have to scream: scream into a closet or the shower cubicle.

  • Mindfulness exercise (also helps if the child has a tantrum): Naming three things that you see, three things that you hear, three things that you feel - brings you back to the present.
  • Curse. Remember sorceress Zilly and her funny swear words and throw them into the room. But I really have to make a list and learn it by heart. Too often they just don't want to cross my mind.
  • Distance. It helps me to distance myself a little spatially. When we're at home, for example, I like to go quickly to the terrace or to another room and take a deep breath.
  • To sing. Quiet and stoic, preferably the same song over and over again. "I ghöre es Glöggli" is one that almost always leads to our goal (we left the church then). Whispers are aimed in the same direction.
  • Treat children like friends. In the event of mishaps such as knocking a glass over at the table or if something goes wrong: react the same way you react to a good friend who is visiting when an accident happens to her. Or agree on a standard sentence: With us it's “No Biggy!”, Inspired by this lovely children's book.
  • Think positive. Basically, the thought helps me: getting excited doesn't do anything, the situation doesn't get better, at most you get in a bad mood, excitement even harms physically (yes, you can even die from it, heart attack!), This thought helps me personally.
  • Use your imagination. If you refuse (I currently have a child who constantly says no, regardless of what I want from her): Choose a different approach e.g. B. Telling a story, including stuffed animals, playing theater, doing things together or finding compromises (of course you don't always have time to come up with a suitable story or play a theater - the children have to learn that too)

With "strange" children we have more distance and feel less provoked.

  • Pretend someone is watching. Imagine someone filming your life for a documentary. How would you act then?
  • Imagine it wasn't your own child, but one that is guarded. With "strange" children we have more distance and feel less provoked.
  • Imagine it was the last day with the child. Explanations are probably superfluous. If the idea is difficult: This Instagram account helps too well.


  • To apologize. If you have become loud or have reacted in a way that you really don't want, be sure to apologize and also say what upset you. Explain what broke the barrel and, in the event of any other stress or anger, say that the bare nerves have nothing to do with the child / children. Alfie Kohn says you should always apologize to your child twice a month. This is meant with a wink (and aims at the absurdity of such arbitrary rules), but there is something about it.

If you have become loud or have reacted in a way you really don't want, be sure to apologize.

  • Give in. With screaming, raging children: do not always remain stubborn, insist on something (only if it is really important, e.g. in dangerous situations). Discuss the situation afterwards, when the child has calmed down, agree on what the desired behavior would be. Try to follow up on the next similar situation and remind the child of the deal.
  • Forgive yourself. Janet Lansbury told us in an interview what she recommends to parents who lose their composure: “Often such strong feelings and reactions are triggered by experiences in one's own childhood because, for example, we ourselves were not accepted with the full range of our emotions. We then figuratively take this little girl or the little boy in us by the hand, pour her unconditional love over her and take care of her mentally in a safe place. "

Do you also have helpful strategies for very difficult situations? We look forward to further input in the comments. Child Protection Switzerland is currently running a campaign on the subject.