And we all do, at some time or another! You know, when your child has driven you to distraction with whining, moaning, disobedience or “wildness”. And you launch into screaming and shouting and perhaps smacking, in response.

And then you are left with mingled feelings of shock (I can’t believe I behaved like that); guilt (No good parent would behave like that); shame (How could I do that?); defiance (Well, he deserved it!) or justification (I have to discipline my child, I am the parent.).

Now we all know that even if your child’s actions and behaviours were extreme, your “going over the edge” is not appropriate, but how do you get “back in control”?

You must walk away and be by yourself. (Make sure that your child is in a safe place first. If you need to put her somewhere safe, carry her through to wherever (bathroom/bedroom?), without saying a word and then leave her.)

The most important thing you need to do is regain your composure. There is no benefit in beating yourself up for your actions. It happened. It is over. How can you fix it and ensure that it does not happen again? A little weep may even help…

Analyse the situation. (Especially if you and your child are often at the mercy of your emotions.) What is it that causes your child to behave in a certain way? What is the trigger that sets you off?

Re-establish boundaries for what you consider appropriate behaviour. But you have to communicate these to your child. Even if they are the same rules as before…

After the storm, a few days later, talk about what happened. Describe your emotions, ask your child how he felt. Tell her what is acceptable/unacceptable and what the consequences will be.

Apologise for your inappropriate actions and make your child apologise for his behaviour.

Next time, MAKE A CHOICE. You are the big person here, behave like one! Count to three (for you!), take a deep breath and then state your expectations to your child and describe what will happen if she does not obey. AND THEN DO THAT! Don’t fly off the handle…

But, if you often find yourself in this situation, appeal for help – from your spouse, from a friend or from a professional.