How to Remain Calm, Even When Your Kids Are Pushing Your Buttons

  • Parents Only

By: Megan Tuohey, Relationship Psychologist

You and I both know that the secret to happy parent-child relationships is when the two of you are in alignment with each other. When you are feeling balanced and centred. So what happens when your child is pushing your buttons, and you are getting more and more infuriated? Most of us end up snapping at our child and breaking the parent-child connection.

I want you to know this – when you snap at your child, you have lost control. In doing this, you have given way too much power to your child, who was ultimately just looking for a calm and consistent boundary, to remind themselves that they are safe.

Losing Control

When you respond in this way, chances are you have been triggered. Chances are your energy levels are low and you are tired, and stressed.

When you lose control of a parenting moment like this, all is not lost. You’ll need to make a repair to your relationship, where you take responsibility for the situation without blaming your child, and you’ll (both) need to learn from the experience.

Stop And Reflect

To get to here, you need to do some reflection. The thing is, under different circumstances, you might have done better. So in your reflection time, think about what set you up for this response and where you lost your way. Then identify what the real need was, behind the boundary pushing for your child. Where did their behaviour come from, and what messages did you take for yourself out of it. Chances are you took it personally, and read too much into it. Most likely your child had a need and was expressing the big feelings behind that need in a way to get your attention.

Just Breathe...

When you can do this, it means that the next time your child comes along, pushing your buttons in order to find a boundary, you’ll be able to recognise any signs that you are losing control. Then you’ll take a deep breath (or 5) and remember the learnings that came from the last time this happened. And you’ll practice doing it differently. You’ll remember that behind your child’s big feelings/button pushing is a longing that they are hoping you can help with.

Once you have success in handling it differently, you’ll feel proud of yourself, as you should. Better than that, you’ll know for sure that next time, you can remain calm or figure out where it went wrong and make a good repair.


About Megan: Megan is a Relationship Psychologist who specialises in women. She focuses particularly on the relationship you have with yourself, your partner, your kids. When she’s not writing, you will find her working in her online coaching business for women, reading or playing with her kids and high-fiving her hubby for another excellent day. You can read more of her work at