Here's how one mom retrained herself NOT to react and instead used going BRAIN DEAD with lots of I KNOW and NICE TRYs to help her with her elementary school aged daughter.
We were driving home from the mall where we got some fabric that she wanted for a project. It was quite difficult for her to make a selection and I was running out of time and out of patience.
On the way home she went onto the next item she just wanted --Frankfurters from Lunardis. Admittedly, she was very hungry by then. I told her I was quite drained from this shopping experience with her and needed to get energy back when I got home. I let her know that I might not even have the energy to cook tonight, maybe I'd just open a can of food. Here's how our conversation went:
Sally: But let's buy the sausages first. They are exactly what I need right now. We can just swing by Lunardis.
Me: It's at the opposite end of town. Its too far.
Sally: But I WANT EXACTLY THOSE SAUSAGES!
Me: I know (you know the intonation... I felt a bit stupid with it, but stuck to it. Probably helped that I was driving and nobody could escape!)
Sally: Stop that. You sound so annoying. (screaming!)
Me: I know...
Sally: Mom, I need the sausages tonight. I don't care if we need to drive across town for it.
Me: I know...
Sally: STOP sounding like that. It's annoying.
Me: Nice try.
Me: I know
Silence for a while.
Then freaking out again.
I drive onto a side street to stop until I feel safe to drive again. Didn't even need to say anything. She calmed down, went to a seat in the back of the car, whined a bit more. After a while in a grumpy voice:
Sally: You can drive now.
Me: I'll wait a bit longer.
(Then I pause which really calmed me too, authentically, not just acting calm!)
Drove off after a while and she started friendly conversation.
At home, there was no asking for food anymore. She heads off plays with a cardboard box with her brother!
Wow! That mom really kept things under control! We can all make HUGE strides when we stay calm and don't let kids who are out of control hit our hot buttons. Didn't you like how she was able to throw in some ENERGY DRAIN to help make things work better for her?