Every parent loses it once in awhile, says psychologist Madeline Levine. These meltdown moments provide important information about triggers in our own lives — past and present.
“I tell a story often about the time I lost it with my youngest kid and screamed at him about his grades and it was terrible. He was crying. I was crying. We all do that. The thing — from time to time, hopefully not that often — but from time to time. I think the challenge for us is to figure out why we lose it — since we don’t usually. In that case, I lost it because of something very specific in my background. And it was, in that moment I actually wasn’t seeing my child. I was back into my own history — with something that I was really upset about. And I actually think often when we lose it, it’s tapping into something — some loss, some disappointment in our own history that is sort of still hanging around. So that’s one thing is to look at ourselves. And the other is to look at our level of exhaustion — being pulled in ten different directions and having the resources available to us. Make sure that you have enough going on in your life so that you’re not exhausted all the time. And I think for many parents — and particularly mothers — this is a very challenging balancing act.”