angry womanJude Bijou is a respected psychotherapist with an MA, an MFT, and multiple published self-help books. And she thinks you need to start taking behavior advice from your toddler. Nope, I’m not kidding.

In an interview that launched a Mommyish Debate before it ever happened, I sat down with Jude to talk about anger, coping mechanisms, and how parents can learn to process their emotions with their children. And I was a little shocked when she told me that us parents need to “take a page from your kid’s playbook.” That’s right, Moms. She wants you to start throwing your own temper tantrums.

“Kids, they have a meltdown, a temper tantrum. But then they get over it. That’s what we need to do as adults.” I was a little surprised to hear someone say that my 5-year-old might be handling her anger better than I was. But Jude explained, “We try to take a deep breath or count to ten, but we really need to do is handle all of that energy.”

According to Jude, anger creates a negative energy inside of us and we need to find a way to release it. The best way to do that? Constructive, safe physical exertion. “Stomping, pushing against the wall, pound the pillow, grimaces, yelling…” All of it counts and all of it may help parents get rid of their negative energy and return to a more balanced mindset before they handle whatever issue they’re having with their child.

So what would this type of coping mechanism look like? Let’s lay it out.

You’ve had an insanely long day. You’re tired and stressed and you have a million things to do before you can fall asleep tonight. You’re standing in the kitchen, preparing dinner, when little Susie starts whining that she wants a cookie. “Pleeeeeeeease Mom,” she begs as she pulls at your leg. The first couple of times, you simply tell her, “No.” But now, you’re starting to get frustrated. You’re about to snap, “You should know by now that you cannot have a snack before dinner!”

Instead, you look down at Susie and say, “Mommy is a little frustrated right now. I need a minute. Can you wait in your bedroom and we’ll talk about it.” Then, you proceed to punch your bedroom pillow and you’ve worked up a sweat and you don’t feel like a ticking time bomb. Now, you’re ready to deal with your little one and her request calmly.