If you are guilty of feeling angry at your children and are really struggling, I encourage you to check out my friend Amanda’s Mama’s Anger Management Course that’s open right now.
Children have a way of really messing with your mind.
In your previous life you were neat, tidy, calm, and in total control. Clothes ironed (I’m talking all clothes, not just today’s), books sorted by color, and Christmas presents bought in July every year. Now you are always tidying a messy house, slightly frazzled, and feel out of control. You no longer purchase clothes that require ironing, your books are multi-colored now since they are all about dogs, kittens, and fairies, and you buy gifts cards for everyone on December 24th. And send them electronically.
Many women take this in stride, but for some, it can be truly difficult to manage the emotions that parenthood brings. Depending on your situation, how well your child listens, and any medical or emotional issues, the day to day can seem out of control.
Here are a few reasons why moms find themselves getting mad at their kids.
- If you don’t get enough sleep you’re a tired mom and thus have a short fuse.
- You’re just generally feeling stressed and you can lose it at the drop of a hat.
- Your child doesn’t listen to your instructions.
- They are defiant and rude to you and their siblings.
- The nagging, whining, and tattling.
- There hasn’t been enough time to refresh and recharge.
There are others, but you get the idea. Motherhood is all-consuming, and it’s easy to get mad at your kids.
When you get mad at your kids…
1. Evaluate the frequency.
How often do you find yourself angry at your kids? Is it every so often when they act up, spill your Diet Coke, or run away from you? If so, that’s normal. That said, if you are perpetually mad at your child regardless of their behavior or moods, then there’s likely an underlying issue.
2. Evaluate your triggers.
Do you lose your cool and get angry because your children don’t listen to you or follow your lead? If so, try some new strategies with your kids. This is actually an “easy” reason, in the grand scheme of things, because you can both teach positively and find your child’s currency. Perhaps it’s no TV, no books, or no games. Think about some logical consequences to their regular shenanigans, and take a few weeks to be very consistent with your responses. During that time be sure and build them up and praise their efforts as well. Even if this doesn’t resolve your anger, it’ll definitely improve their behavior.
3. Get away.
When all you want to do is escape, that’s a sign you need some time away. Whether that’s a morning with friends or even a two day mommy vacation, if you are consistently wanting to get away from your children that is a sign you should probably do so. And I’m not talking about the selfish need to be away, but a genuine need for some time of refreshing.
See: How do you unwind?
4. Take a minute.
It’s one thing to yell a time or two at your kids. I may be in the minority, but I believe if they are seriously out of control and you yell… well… it won’t hurt them. Kids know when they are pushing the boundaries. However, if you find that you are always right on the verge then teach your kids how to “give you a minute.” I’ll write about this soon because I’ve been practicing this. Essentially, you teach your children that when you say “give me a minute” you are going to be alone and they need to leave you alone. When you are about to explode in anger, go take a minute. Or five.
5. Get help.
If you’re a Type A mom like me, you don’t want to ask for help. A lady in my Bible study tonight said she could be dragging herself across the floor with her bare hands and, if someone said “Do you need help?” she’d probably respond, “Nah, I’ve got it.” Ha! This is our problem. Whether we get help from our spouse, a group of friends, a counselor, a pastor, or even a helpline, we need to get it. People are a lot less shock-able than you’d imagine. Don’t let your pride stop you from getting help.
Do you want 50 printable Calm Down Tips?
My friend Amanda is an expert on Mama’s Anger Management and she has a printable you can print out and use to help you learn to calm down. The 50 Calm Down Tips are free and will get emailed straight to you!