It’s hard on everyone when we lose our tempers, especially when we realize we may have gotten angry for the wrong reasons. See if you can relate to these unfair reasons we get mad at kids, and how to stop.
I’ve regretted the times I’ve lost my temper with my kids, but more so when I yell for unfair reasons.
What do I mean by unfair reasons?
Think back to the last time you yelled at your kids. Maybe they were making a ruckus right when you needed quiet or wouldn’t stop pestering their siblings.
Unfair reasons we get mad at kids
Then, see if there may have been underlying reasons that, had they not been there, would have led you not to yell or get angry.
Reasons like these…
1. You’re stressed
Imagine changing four diapers in the morning when you’re already running late to work, or fixing a broken cabinet while your toddler needs your 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, play quietly while we sort out unexpected bills, or stay out of the kitchen so we can finish 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.
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2. 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.
Maybe you’re upset at your partner, and end up snapping at your kids instead. Or your boss gave you a hard time at work that you were quick to yell at home.
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 this 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, it’s not effective and you’ll continue to harbor resentment.
3. You’re mad at yourself
My two-year-old twins refused to eat the roasted chicken and vegetables I had prepared. I felt annoyed, but more so than usual. As predicted, I got mad at them for not eating the food I had just prepared.
But later, I dug deeper into why I had lost my temper, and I realized I was more mad at myself.
You see, before dinner, I had given them a ton of snacks. Even as I did so, I knew I shouldn’t have since they would likely not eat their dinner. So when dinner time came and my prediction came true, I took my anger out on them when really, I was more disappointed in myself.
Yes, it sucked that they didn’t eat their dinner, but I was more upset that I had 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.
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 our kids, as an unpleasant hassle.
So we snap, shoo them away, or 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. You’re running through your to-do list for tomorrow and your kids start fighting. The sudden distraction while focusing on a task leads you to yell at your kids or drag them to their room.
Without distractions, you’re present and calm. You 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. Forgive yourself for mistakes you made, all without the fear of losing face. Reduce stress factors and learn to manage them separately from your kids, and remove distractions so you can better focus on the kids.
If you’re guilty of these mistakes, you’re not alone. I came to these conclusions after losing my temper over what seemed like unfair reasons. But the more we can see where our anger stems from, the better we can manage it away from our kids, especially when they seem unfair.
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