It’s so easy to get mad at kids, especially for unfair reasons. See if you can relate to these reasons we get mad at our children, and how to stop.
Every time I’ve lost my temper with my kids, I’ve regretted it. I know getting angry isn’t the way to go. I feel horrible for the way I treated my kids. Even my logical side tells me losing my temper isn’t effective.
But then I realized I especially regret getting mad at my kids because I sometimes do so for unfair reasons.
Unfair reasons we get mad at kids
Think back to the last time you yelled at your kids. Maybe they were making a ruckus right when you needed quiet. Or they wouldn’t stop pestering their siblings, or they were crying nonstop.
Now, see if there might have been underlying reasons. Reasons that, had they not been there, would have led you not to yell.
Reasons like these…
#1: You’re mad at someone else.
I’ve yelled at my kids not because I was upset with them, but with someone else. I’ve focused my anger on my kids rather than on the person I was angry with. It’s almost like we don’t want to confront the other person, and instead take it out on the kids.
Now I try to keep my anger in check and keep communication open so I don’t yell at the kids when I’m mad at someone else.
Another solution to try? Let it go. Let’s say you’re irritated at someone else. And you’ve had a habit of taking it out on the kids instead of confronting the person. If it’s small enough to let it slide, do so. Pick your battles to avoid being grumpy with the kids or arguing with someone else.
How to change: Communicate with the person you’re upset with. As easy as it may be to take it out on the kids instead, it’s not effective and you’ll continue to harbor resentment.
#2: You’re mad at yourself.
My two-year-old twins refused to eat the roasted chicken and vegetables I had prepared. When you’ve just labored over a meal, the last thing you need are your kids turning up their noses at their food.
I felt annoyed, but more so than usual. I got mad at them, regretted it, then dug deeper into why I had lost my temper. And I realized that I was more mad at myself than my kids. You see, before dinner, I had given them a ton of snacks. And even as I did so, I knew I shouldn’t have since they would likely not eat their dinner.
And I was more mad at myself for not having caught my mistake than at my kids. Yes, it sucked that they didn’t eat their dinner. But I was more upset that I had gone ahead and given them a ton of snacks when I knew better. Except rather than admitting my mistake, I got angry with them for not eating.
Sometimes we’re more upset at our own mistakes and failures and end up blaming it on the kids instead. When you spot your trigger, see if the reason could be due to your own frustration at yourself.
How to change: Forgive yourself when you make mistakes. Don’t let your regrets fall on your child’s shoulders.
#3: You’re stressed.
Changing four diapers in the morning while trying to get to the office. Trying to fix a broken cabinet while your toddler calls for attention. Anyone who has ever had to function under stress understands how easy it is to snap.
These stressful times affect our kids. We wish they would put their shoes on already. Or play quietly while we try to sort out unexpected bills. Or stay out of the kitchen so we can finish up with dinner.
It doesn’t help that kids can do the strangest things when we least need it. Pouring out all their toys just as we’re expecting company, for instance. But the more aware we are of how stress affects us, the better we can manage our temper.
How to change: Learn to separate your stress factors from your kids. Yes, your kids might be in the way, but deep down, they’re not the reason you’re frustrated.
#4: You’re distracted.
Hands down, every time I check my phone or try to get work done on the computer, I almost always get grumpy with my kids. No surprise there—when we’re trying to do something, we want to focus on it. We see any distraction, including from our kids, as an unpleasant hassle.
So we snap, we shoo them away, we yell. It’s an unfair reaction to what can be your child approaching you to play, or asking you for help. Even if she’s whining, parenting when distracted can lead to losing your temper.
Distractions can even be in your mind. Maybe you’re running through your to-do list for tomorrow and your kids start fighting. The sudden distraction from a focused task might lead you to yell at your kids or drag them to their room.
Without distractions, you’re more aware of the situation in front of you. You’re calmer and don’t need to stop what you’re doing to tend to your kids. And you’ll be less likely to yell since you can focus on your kids instead of the thoughts in your mind.
How to change: Eliminate distractions, especially those that are bound to cause you to lose your temper.
Getting mad at our children is never the ideal situation. No parent says, “Today, I hope to lose my temper even more.” But of course it happens, to all of us no less.
Now imagine not yelling at your kids so much, all because of a change in perspective. Rather than losing your temper, discuss deeper concerns with another person you’re angry with. Or forgive yourself for mistakes you made, all without the fear of losing face. You reduce stress factors and learn to manage them separately from your kids. And you remove distractions so you can better focus on the kids instead of getting angry.
If you’re guilty of these mistakes, don’t worry—you’re not alone. I came to these conclusions after losing my temper over what seemed like unfair reasons. The more we can see where our anger stems from, the better we can manage our anger away from our kids.
Handling your child’s behavior is made even more difficult when your child won’t listen. I’d love to share with you one effective word I’ve found to get kids to listen in this FREE printable handout. Learn about the word, why it works and how to use it (comes with a worksheet, too!).
Get more tips on how to parent calmly:
- How to Change Bad Habits Effectively
- On Arguing with Your Child Over the Silliest Reasons
- Before You Get Angry with Your Child, Read This:
- How to Stay Calm with Your Child
- Pick Your Battles: Why Fighting with Your Kids Isn’t Necessary
Tell me in the comments: What are some of the reasons you get mad at your kids? What helps you calm down?
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