If you’ve asked yourself, “Why am I ‘that’ angry parent?” then keep reading! Since becoming parents, we all come face to face with our temper. There are certain behaviors and circumstances that give rise to our anger and it’s something we must consistently guard in our home. Why?
1) because we don’t want our kids to remember us as being mean and angry.
2) because having a mean and angry parent will give your kids issues.
3) because it’s just plain and simple no fun to be in a bad mood.
Here are some common reasons we get angry with our kids.
1. We take things personally
For some irrational reason, we tend to feel that disobedience is a personal insult. I say do this, they do that, and I want to get offended at their audacity. Then I remind myself they are children. They intuitively want to please their parents but they don’t intuitively know how. Unless you want to be nuts all day and night, you cannot take their behavior and choices personally.
When your anger rises after a particular situation, before you pounce take one minute to think about the root of your anger. Are you mad simply because they didn’t do what you said? Fair enough they need to obey, but your anger will not bring about the type of obedience you want. Calm down and remember, it’s consistency, discipline, and training that brings about your desired results, not their fear of your angry outbursts.
And if you HAVE to be angry, get angry with your parenting skills, and not your child!
2. Your expectations need adjusting
It’s hard to know what to rightfully expect as parents. This is a work in progress that needs regular tweaking, but if you are expecting your 3-year-old to act like a 6-year-old then you’ll get angry. You should expect obedience, but not 100% obedience. If it isn’t happening, then you need to find other ways to get through to your child than the ways that are not working.
3. You’re empty and need a recharge
Parenthood calls for a lot of sacrifice, but I don’t think sanity is one of the things we should sacrifice. There are certain things we must do just because we must. However, we should attempt to include time to ourselves where at all possible. If you are empty and have nothing to give – yet still continue giving – what you’re giving is not a gift. Does that make sense?
Take some time alone. Get your partner to watch the kids or another family member. Put them all to bed early and do something that helps you relax or recharge. Start or continue some hobbies.
4. You’ve let things get out of control and need a reset
It hurts to hear, and it hurts me to type it, but most of our children’s behavior is a result of our own parenting choices. Not all, obviously, because they have their own free will. However, if we are lax, too strict, or inconsistent their free will causes them to do things that aren’t desirable. It’s perfectly normal we find a good system, go on autopilot, and then realize our system needs some tweaking. If your home atmosphere seems to be getting out of control I’d suggest hitting the reset button.
Tighten the reins for a week. Be over the top consistent. Evaluate your expectations (#2) then explain over and over again what you expect from them. Explain over and over again what will happen if they don’t do what you expect. It’ll be tedious for a week, but you should expect to see a return to normal and pleasant behavior within a short period of time.
5. You’re stressed and need an outlet
When I’m stressed, I become a short-tempered person. Every little stupid thing ticks me off. Whether your outlet is some type of hobby or sport, find some way to let out your frustration in other ways than exploding with your kids. Also, if you are habitually stressed it may be time to do some more extreme measures like counseling. Or even putting firm boundaries in relationships, at work, or in areas that are out of your control.
You may not be able to control the circumstances that cause you stress, but your children shouldn’t suffer for it. Perhaps you need to cut back on commitments, slow down, and re-evaluate your priorities. Even if something drastic must be done, you will be glad you did something when you’re able to finish a day without having lost it!
So… while it’s normal to get angry, we should be able to manage it. While our kids do need to understand their actions have consequences, we don’t need to explode on them.
And instead of just trying not to yell, remember: anger is not the issue, a deeper issue is the issue. Take every Sunday night and evaluate the times you may have lost it during the week. What was REALLY going on? Have you addressed the true issue? Did you apologize? How can you do better in the future?