A BBC doctor suggests that there are simple techniques to stop family arguments at home. These arguments can often be sparked by something minor, and more frequent during lockdown.

Dr Rangan Chatterjee has 300,000 Instagram followers and regularly interviews experts in areas like mental health, tackling online violence and living a healthier life. He suggests that things like keeping a journal at the close of each day and always apologizing to children if they get off the handle, can help create a more harmonious home. 

FEMAIL has just heard from the 44-year-old TV and Radio doctor. He said that avoiding stress builds up, controlling your breathing to calm down, and learning techniques to get your partner to listen can all help prevent arguments.  

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TV and radio doctor Dr Rangan Chatterjee says there are steps you can take to stop flying off the handle at your kids after a stressful day

Dr Rangan Chatterjee, a TV and radio doctor, says there are steps you should take to stop your children from yelling at you after a stressful day.

Dr Rangan, who has an 11-year-old son and an eight-year-old daughter with his wife Vidhaata, told FEMAIL: ‘Life just appears a lot more stressful post Covid, we’ve had to keep ourselves to ourselves without the typical outlets that we’ve had to connect with others, to relieve our stress.  

“In the pressured bubble lockdown – where parents tried to work from home and home school their kids, a lot found out what their programming was.” The way we parent is a lot influenced by how we were raised. 

He shares his top tips to manage stress so it doesn’t lead to family arguments.  

Speak Sorry to Your Kids  

“We are imperfect human beings and fundamentally flawed. It is important to role-model to our children. Tell them: “I didn’t have a lunch break this morning, I’ve been really busy and my stresses have nothing to do with me and it wasn’t very pleasant for you to hear that.”

It makes a big difference. The kids will believe it’s them and think they’ve done wrong, especially younger children. Their parent is everything to them and they will often internalise stress from arguments thinking, ‘I’ve done some wrong to make Mummy do that’.

As adults with their own children, they will continue this cycle. Being honest with your kids and offering an apology will bring you closer and help you ‘own” your stress. You don’t have to be perfect.  


Humans are fundamentally flawed, says Dr Rangan and trying to be the perfect parent will set you up for a fall - it's better to say when you've flown off the handle and apologise to kids

Dr Rangan believes that humans are fundamentally flawed. Trying to be the perfect parent will lead to a fall. It’s better just to admit you’ve blown off the handle, and to apologize to the kids

There’s the ‘big picture’ stress, which includes trauma and bereavement. Divorce is what we would call a macro stress dose. 

Micro stress doses are small amounts of stress that we experience every single day, but can manage well. 

When we’re not aware of it, they add up, one after the other – it could be a negative comment on Instagram, a negative news story that makes you feel fearful of the world, school homework, an elderly parent needing a lightbulb changing –  all these things get you closer and closer to your stress threshold. 

Parenting is about programming, but snapping at your children is often a sign that you’re having a tough day. So be kind to yourself and take pause to reflect on this. Even if you are able to reduce your micro stress by 10 percent, you can make your child’s head space more comfortable.   


For younger children, their parent means everything. They’ll often internalize stress from arguments, thinking “I’ve done some wrong to make Mummy and Daddy do that …’.”

“You don’t have the need to buy a fancy journal, or have a lot of rituals of writing. Take just two or three minutes every day, or when your return from work, and write down what happened that day. 

Example: “The children wouldn’t eat dinner and I snapped at them. I tried to not but couldn’t resist. A few moments of self-reflection can be helpful.

I encourage patients to ask two questions each evening: “What went well?” and “What can I do differently tomorrow?” 

It is so effective that it causes self-reflection which leads to awareness. Without this awareness, we cannot make any changes. 


“The 3-4-5 breath is my favorite technique. You inhale for three seconds, hold for four seconds, and then exhale for five seconds. 

If your ‘out-breath is longer than your in-breath, you need to switch off your sympathetic nervous system (the stress) and promote the parasympathetic nervous systems, which is the relaxation side. 

Do three to five minutes of 3-4-5 breaths before starting a difficult conversation. You’ll feel calmer, more focused, and more relaxed. 


“Communication is everything” in relationships. In any scenario there are three realities. While you may know what you intend to say, and what a mutual observer might notice happening, you don’t know what your partner’s intention is or what has happened in their day. 

If you make an assertion/allegation regarding your intention, you are ‘over-the net’. Once this happens, relationships can spiral with partners and children as well as colleagues.

All about the timing: How you approach a conversation about whether parent duties are being split fairly are crucial, says the TV doc

It’s all about the timing: The TV doc explains that it is crucial to approach a conversation about parent duties being divided fairly.

For example, one partner might tell the other that they aren’t pulling their weight around the house. Waiting is better than arguing in heated moments.

This will only make your partner defensive. Instead, wait until your children are asleep and then sit down and have a conversation when neither of you are distracted.  

Keep your partner informed and on your side when you speak. You are not saying “I feel” or “You make it feel like that”. You are simply expressing your feelings factually. A partner is more likely to engage. It works with the children, too.    


It’s hard. You won’t be the only one who finds it difficult. You can choose to be aware and decide if you want to keep going with the same thing or if you want to change it. It can be difficult to be present and calm with your children when you are under pressure at work. However, awareness is a great tool to manage stress.    

Dr Rangan Chatterjee’s five-minute wellness podcast, Built To Thrive, is exclusively available on Amazon Music