by Carla Naumburg, PhD
“Ever lose it with your kid? If so, you’re definitely not alone. Parenting is stressful, children are insane, and you’re only human. Carla Naumburg, PhD, a clinical social worker, was so at a loss with her daughters that she found herself Googling “how to stop yelling at my kids” during a particularly grueling evening. That moment led to this book—a short, empathic, insight-packed, and tip-filled program for how to manage your triggers, stop the meltdowns, and become a calmer, happier parent with calmer, happier kids.
How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Your Kids not only explains why we explode at our children but also teaches us everything we need to know to decrease stress and increase patience, even in the most challenging family moments.
Based on recent research and evidence-based practices, and written in the warm, funny, instantly relatable tone of a parent who’s been there, the book guides even the most harried parents toward a new way of engaging with their children. Readers will come away feeling less ashamed and more empowered to get their sh*t together, instead of losing it.”
I remember so clearly the kind of parent I was going to be before I had kids…and then I became a parent. Our kids are kind, funny, curious, loving and they can totally make me lose my sh*t. We have two boys who are two years apart in age and parenting can feel like a total rollercoaster ride. No matter how hard you try, you are not going to be a perfect parent.
“When it comes to parenting, being awesome and screwing up are not mutually exclusive.” -Carla Naumburg
My Own Experience:
I can recall with such vivid memories how completely overwhelmed I was when our first son was a baby because the physically demanding aspects of parenting an infant who cried a lot and slept, umm, not a lot were 24/7. I was exhausted. As the years went by and we added a second child, not only did parenting feel physically hard but it became emotionally hard. This is also when we entered the stage of “losing our sh*t”.
You think it won’t happen to you, but then it does. Have you ever tried strapping a screeching toddler into a car seat while they are whacking you in the face while also making their entire body as straight and stiff as a board? Have you ever wanted to take a 3-minute shower without referring two children who are fighting over a toy neither one has previously played with in years? Have you ever been on a last minute work phone call and had to say “I am going to have to call you back” because you can’t hear anyone over the screeching of your children in the background of the car, who you previously explained to that you needed to make this important phone call? There are thousands of more examples, but this is just an example of how you may get to the “losing your sh*t” zone of parenting.
What This Book is About:
How to Stop Losing Your Sh*t with Your Kids is a relatable and approachable discussion and action guide relating to the stresses of modern-day parenting. Naumburg starts with defining why parents can sometimes lose it, and then goes into the different steps of how you work towards losing it less.
The Most Important Steps:
TRIGGERS: Understand your triggers…we all have them even though they may be very different.
AWARENESS. Know what pushes your buttons and own it.
REFLECT. Having some insight into the WHY can help you have a plan.
REDUCE TRIGGERS: Work on reducing triggers. This makes you feel less out of control and enables you to be more proactive when you get into moments of frustration.
COMPASSION. Have compassion both with yourself and with your children…and really, the world around you. When you can look at something from a more empathetic viewpoint, it is easier to own the situation and then move forward. You always have another chance to have a more positive interaction.
SET YOURSELF UP FOR SUCCESS. In a fast-paced world, parents are juggling more things than ever before. Finding ways to take care of yourself actually makes YOU a better parent. Find your village and support system and choose wisely when saying YES…the fewer overcommitments the fewer triggers you might have. Unitask when you are able…multitasking usually causes nothing to get done well and often results in massive frustration levels for all.
Approachable, Proactive & Real:
I found this book to be approachable and real, yet also great at calling out what our issues might be so we can be more proactive about them in the future. There was a great balance of reflection and action no matter what your situation or triggers. Naumburg strives for progress, not perfection which feels attainable when you are in the thick of it.
Naumburg discusses with great detail how to catch yourself when you are in or about to enter a “losing it” moment and has reachable suggestions such as “notice, pause and do literally anything else”. I loved the section on compassion, both with ourselves and with our children. When we lose it, which will still happen sometimes, no matter how many things we put in place to stop it, the most important thing we can do is own it.
Reconnecting with ourselves can help guide us to why we might have reacted that way and provide us an opportunity to think about practical things we can put in place to help it from happening again…such as scheduling self-care, reaching out to our support system, etc.
Another step in compassion is reconnecting with our children. Getting calm and apologizing is one of the most powerful parts we can do, not only to repair and respect our relationships with our kids but also to help them see how powerful talking through moments can be for both parties.
I found so many parts of this book helpful and highly recommend it to any parent who is looking for proactive and attainable advice. Thank you to NetGalley and Workman Publishing Company for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.