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Clever Parenting Hack Keeps You From Losing It On the Kids

Photograph by Twenty20

We love our children; they are gifts. They make us smile, laugh and beam with pride whenever they do something good. They also motivate us to lose our shit—daily—and, if we're not careful, that frustration can transform into something far more sinister.

On those days, we must prepare for the worst.

This mom reworked another mom's discipline method and everything (we presume) got a little more quiet. No more sore throat from yelling. Few tears from the post screeching guilt. What's great is that you don't have to buy a book to get started. No podcasts, no expensive classes.

All you need? A hair tie.

It works on the rubber band bracelet concept, which is nothing new for any of us. Strap one around your wrist. Pull back and let go whenver the kids are getting out of hand. Feel the snap, and you're reminded to take a breath (which is easy since you just said "ouch!").

Why do this to yourself? Well, let's say little Aiden knocks over your first cup of morning sanity, causing the ceramic mug to shatter against your keyboard before you hit save. The former you may have reacted vocally (aka: screamed and melted down). The new you, however—the one wearing an elastic sedative—now has the wherewithal to snap, so to speak, your way back into reality before saying (or doing) something you might later regret.

Just like that, you've mastered the art of parenting (you know sort of).

But what if you get tired of people asking about your self-torture device and want to wean yourself from snapping altogether. Is there a 12-step program for angry moms who want to quit the band?

You 'earn back' one hair tie at a time by doing five simple things to reconnect with your kid.

No, but there IS a 2-step program designed to heal your aching wrist, and you can find them here:

1. Place 5 super comfy hair ties around your wrist each morning when the kids wake up. Note: if you put them on beforehand and get too familiar with wearing them, these colorful reminders will turn into visual white noise and soon be forgotten.

Also, be sure to take them off when the kids aren't around and put them back on the second they return, so that you maintain a connection between the rubber innuendos and the children at all times.

2. When you find yourself becoming frustrated with one (or all) of your children, move one hair tie to the opposite wrist. The goal is to make it through the day with all 5 ties on the original wrist.

So, what happens when all five bands have relocated to the opposing wrist before lunchtime?

Easy. You “earn back” one hair tie at a time by doing five simple things to reconnect with your kid.

According to relationship expert John Gottman, who was voted Top 10 Most Influential Therapists of the past quarter-century by the Psychotherapy Network, the magic ratio for healthy relationships is 5 to 1. This means that for every one negative feeling or interaction between partners, there must be five positive feelings or interactions.

It may not be a perfect solution, but with a little help, a lot of patience, and a handful of Goody elastics, we can figure it out.

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