It’s hard on everyone when we lose our tempers. 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 yelled for unfair reasons.
What do I mean by “unfair”?
Of course, at the end of the day, angry outbursts aren’t justified regardless of reason. But it’s even more heartbreaking when we take our frustration out on our kids when they had little to do with what we’re angry about.
Think back to recent episodes when you yelled at your kids. Maybe they were making a ruckus right when you needed quiet time or wouldn’t stop pestering their siblings.
Then, see if there may have been underlying reasons that, had they not been there, would not have led to angry behavior.
Unfair reasons we get mad at kids
Being aware of these circumstances is important, as it allows you to question why you’re upset to begin with. You’re able to see that your emotions aren’t always about your child’s behavior at all, and that resolving anger issues can help curb your temper.
Take a look at these common reasons we get mad at kids when we shouldn’t:
1. You’re stressed
Imagine changing four diapers in the morning when you’re late to work, or fixing a broken cabinet while your toddler throws tantrums. Anyone who has ever had to function under stress in their daily life understands how easy it is to snap.
The stress and anxiety affect young children, too. We wish they would put their shoes on already, play quietly while we sort out unexpected bills, or do their homework without nagging.
It doesn’t help that they do the strangest things when we least need it, like pouring out all their toys just as we’re expecting company. But the more aware we are of how stress affects us, the better we can manage the adrenaline.
Take a deep breath and separate your stress factors from your kids. Yes, they 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 them 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 aggression 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 with your partner and end up snapping at your kids instead. Your boss gave you a hard time at work that you were quick to yell at home. You fought with a family member and ended up with a headache.
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.
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 that person.
3. You’re mad at yourself
My 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 cooked.
But later, I dug deeper into why I had lost my temper, and I realized I was angrier at myself.
You see, before dinner, I had given them a lot 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 snacks when I knew better. But 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 a common trigger, see if the reason could be due to your own frustration at yourself. Forgive yourself when you make mistakes and don’t let your regrets fall on your child’s shoulders.
4. You’re distracted
Whenever I check my phone or try to get work done on the computer, there’s a good chance I’ll 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 and aggressive behavior.
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 them or banish them to their room.
Without distractions, you’re present and calm in your interaction. 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 them instead of the thoughts in your mind. Eliminate distractions, especially those that are bound to cause you to lose your temper.
Getting mad at our kids is never the ideal situation. Nobody says, “Today, I hope to lose my temper and dole out a punishment,” but of course it happens, to us no less.
But 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.
Get more tips:
- One Technique to Finally Stop Yelling at Your Kids
- How to Set Boundaries with Kids
- These Are the Things Your Kids Will Remember About You
- Tell Your Kids You Love Them, Even when It’s Hard To
- How to Get Kids to Listen Without Yelling and Losing Your Cool
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