Why parents lose it with their kids

The reasons often have more to do with you than with your child, according to psychologist Madeline Levine. Learn why.
YouTube video

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.

Video transcript

“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.”

About the author

GreatSchools.org is a national nonprofit with a mission to help every child obtain a high-quality education that values their unique abilities, identities, and aspirations. We believe in the power of research-backed, actionable information to empower parents, family members, and educators to help make this happen. For 25 years, the GreatSchools Editorial Team has been working to make the latest, most important, and most actionable research in education, learning, and child development accessible and actionable for parents through articles, videos, podcasts, hands-on learning resources, email and text messaging programs, and more. Our team consists of journalists, researchers, academics, former teachers and education leaders — most of whom are also dedicated parents and family members — who not only research, fact check, and write or produce this information, but who use it in our daily lives as well. We welcome your feedback at editorial@greatschools.org.