Are you a mom who is tired of being angry?
Do you wish you could stop yelling at your kids?
I get you. I have felt like a failure as a mom a hundred times. And I have always wished I was less angry.
But let me assure you something. The fact that you feel guilty about it and that you wish to improve and become a patient parent, actually makes you a good parent.
It will help you to keep trying whenever you lose your temper and yell again.
Transforming yourself from an angry parent to a patient one requires a lot of effort. But like with any habit, you get better with practice.
EFFECTS OF PARENTAL ANGER ON CHILDREN
Think about the scenario where you are angry and mad. Your child is looking at you with fearful eyes and is on the verge of tearing up.
How are you speaking in this scene? And how are you acting?
You say a lot of hurtful things to them, or you yell at them and sometimes even give them a spanking.
The child feels hurt and broken. They now trust you less with their mistakes and grow afraid to express their feelings.
In the short term, you may be able to get things done by raising your voice. But in the long term, they start fearing you. They do not learn the valuable lessons you could have taught them by controlling your anger.
Research shows that yelling makes children more aggressive. They also become insecure, develop anxiety, and have low self-esteem.
Plus, as a parent, it is not at all a proud experience when kids learn the same bad behavior as you and take it on you when they are big.
Hence, it is important to learn to control your anger with kids.
So, here are some tips to control anger with kids.
KNOW THE TRIGGERS
Before you set out to control your anger, try to understand what triggers your anger.
Is it because you are frustrated about something else that is happening in your life?
Or is it because your kids don’t listen to you?
Were you raised by parents who were always angry?
Didn’t you get proper sleep the previous night?
Or you are simply tired and want to call it a day?
There could be many reasons for your anger. Most of the time you know the reasons and sometimes it comes out as your habitual reaction to repeated patterns of behaviors from others.
When it’s a habit awareness and conscious practice can help to override the old behavior.
What does this mean?
Most of the time you know when you are going to lose your temper. You could be arguing with your child or he might not be listening to your request to do his chores. You feel your heart beating faster and your breaths becoming shorter.
There, catch yourself right there!
Now you are aware. You are aware that you are getting angry. Take a deep breath and think about how you can change your wording or approach so that your child will listen.
You can take a moment there. Now respond calmly. Respond according to the situation. Either empathize with him or even excuse a moment for yourself to gain your composure back.
Being a sensitive empath, constant noise and bickering get on my nerves fast. When I can’t take it anymore, I tell my children, “I am so angry right now and I don’t want to yell. I need some quiet“.
I ask them to go to another room or I just withdraw myself to any silent corner.
This is also modeling of appropriate behavior to children because they learn how to control their anger and that it’s not right to unleash your anger wrongfully on others.
Habit is one reason. Another trigger for your anger could be an unmet need.
Kids express their emotions and start misbehaving when their needs are not met. They don’t know to say, “I didn’t get proper sleep yesterday” or “I need to spend more time with mommy”. They just start crying or get angry.
Same way, you also could be having an unmet need to reason as the cause of your anger.
If it’s sleep, get more sleep. If it’s marital problems, make a resolution to solve it peacefully with your spouse and never take it out on children. If it’s hunger, try to always eat on time.
I have felt I don’t have much patience with my kids when I am hungry. This happens especially when they are back from school.
When they reach home from school, they come ready to release a lot of pent-up emotions that they couldn’t release in a social environment.
They complain about something that happened in school and what they need are patient ears and an empathic heart.
So I don’t want to release my own frustration on them, create a clash, and cause tears. When you go through the same situations again and again, you learn what makes everyone angry.
Coming home from school is such a vulnerable time for kids and I try to greet them being prepared to deal with their emotional outbursts.
When your kids are away or taking a nap, try to meet your own needs, like sleeping having food, or indulging in any other self-care routine so that you don’t have a trigger to get angry.
EXPECT THE MISBEHAVIORS
Kids can have meltdowns and tantrums almost daily because they have an underdeveloped prefrontal cortex. They don’t know how to deal with their big emotions.
But the parents who are sensitive or have any other problem going on, can absorb this energy and get angry at kids. We all have such moments when we don’t have the patience to handle yet another meltdown.
Oh….stop it, please….I don’t want to deal with this now!
You think to yourself.
You are not perfect so sometimes you are allowed to lose it. But if you are always angry when they are being emotional, it can affect the child’s emotional development.
Therefore, working on yourself on a consistent basis is important.
What you can do is, expect the meltdowns and prepare yourself for it.
Create a mantra that you can repeat to yourself in such moments. When she comes running to you crying, don’t tell yourself, “ Oh, not again, please!”
Instead, tell yourself, “ She is just a child in trouble who needs me”, “She needs my guidance, not my anger”, or “ She is too small to handle this hurt on her own”.
These are some mantras that I tell myself so that I can empathize with the little human who is in trouble and needs help. Make your own and keep repeating it.
Once they become a habit, practicing patience will become second nature to you.
TAKE A PAUSE
In the heat of the moment, you just want to inflict your anger upon them. But always remember your goal of going from an angry parent to a patient one.
So, when the kids push your buttons, instead of reacting instantly, take a pause and a few deep breaths. And think about how you can show empathy in this situation.
I know it is easier said than done. But you want to be a calm mom and teach your kids how to take control of their anger. Only daily practice will get you there.
Breathing helps to reduce stress. And when stress is taken away from the moment, you will be able to respond to your child calmly.
Sometimes, when I am overwhelmed and tired of my own problems and kids come to me to talk, I tell them openly.
I say, “ I am _____ (insert the emotion) right now. I need some time for myself. Please excuse me till I am done dealing with this and then I will talk to you”.
Since kids are tiny human beings and can’t react without being faced with criticism, they are often the victims of our emotional outbursts. Poor things! They truly deserve better, right?
That’s one of the reasons I love peaceful parenting and try to improve myself as a parent every single day.
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I can’t tell you how daily meditation has helped in controlling my anxiety and anger. But don’t just take my word for it, there are studies that prove that meditation reduces anger.
Meditation is simply observing the thoughts that come to your mind without attaching any emotional reaction to them.
Meditation helps to bring your wandering mind to the present moment. It teaches you to detach your mind from reacting to the thoughts that come and go in your mind every second.
Thus, when you practice daily meditation, you learn to relax your mind and respond calmly.
Start with 3-5 minutes of practice a day and build up to a 20-minute practice. You can do better with time and increase the duration to as much as you want.
HAVE A ROUTINE FOR EVERYONE
When you have a certain structure for your day you feel more in control. You are more or less in control of everyone’s activities.
You don’t need to yell at your kids because you suddenly declared it’s bedtime and they start protesting.
I always try to stay on schedule and follow the same timetable every day. So they are more cooperative and less reactive.
And I keep announcing to them when it’s about time to eat dinner, do homework, or sleep.
I have some rules in place like no chocolate or snacks when it’s mealtime or sleep on time on school nights etc. Since they hear about the rules on a consistent basis, they oblige easily.
When you have a routine, you can avoid most power struggles. When everyone has a routine, no one is overly hungry or sleepy. Not mommy, not kids.
This makes you a calmer mom.
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CHOOSE YOUR BATTLES
If there is one thing I have learned from being a parent is, not every battle is worth fighting for.
The fewer the number of rules, the better. Earlier, I would fight with my daughters about which dress to wear, or which hair clip would go with a party dress.
Now I know, it’s better to let go of such silly things that make no difference in our lives.
I love to preserve my energy for better things and not waste it on dealing with another tantrum. It makes you angry and now you and your child are in tears. No! Not worth it!
Another benefit I see in letting go is, that your kids learn to make independent decisions and trust their own judgment.
But my kids can’t beat me in a challenge with eating their veggies or negotiating on sleep time on a school night. I believe these are battles that are worth fighting for.
So, always take your time before saying NO to your child’s requests. Think if their request is harmless because you will regret it later when you have to deal with their meltdowns just because you have to keep your word.
TAKE TIME FOR YOURSELF
This one is absolutely crucial so as not to lose your sanity. Every single day, spend some time alone doing the things you love.
Be it reading, listening to music, or just relaxing with a coffee. You can either get up earlier than your kids or put your kids to sleep early.
I do both and it is like the golden hours in my day. Waking up earlier and doing a 10-minute meditation gives a fresh start to my day. On the days I start with meditation I am a patient parent and can deal with stressful situations much better.
And I put my kids to bed early at night (about 8-8.30), so that I have some time to unwind after the day. I use this time to chat with my spouse and do some reading and journaling.
As an introverted mother, I need some time to recharge my batteries. I know my triggers well and I know that if I haven’t got time for myself in the day, I tend to get angry easily.
That being said, anger is a natural human emotion. You don’t need to be ashamed of it. You just need to know how to deal with it tactfully without hurting others.
JOURNALING AND AFFIRMATIONS
I am obsessed with planning and journaling. It would be kind of an understatement if I said I would be lost without my bullet journal. Weekly planning helps me stay sane amidst the chaos of motherhood.
When I realized the impact my anger can have on kids, I decided to take the challenge to my journal.
Among my daily to-do list items, I write “Be a patient mother today”. And at the end of the day, I assess how much self-control I have and write about the instances where I shouted.
Putting this in writing every day has had a positive impact on controlling my anger. I know it helps because studies also show that those who write down their goals are more likely to achieve them.
And with daily journaling, you are affirming the positive change you want to bring to your brain. Since you write daily, the memory of your goal is fresh in your brain and it reminds you of the goal in those heated moments.
It helps in rewiring your brain and down the road, you transform from an angry parent into a calm one.
If you don’t already do journaling I recommend you start it. You don’t need to write essays but only one or two sentences about how you behaved that day.
Affirmations also have a positive effect on changing old behaviors, beliefs, and patterns. I have a set of affirmations written in my bullet journal that I read daily morning as part of my morning routine.
Here are some of the affirmations:
- Today I will choose kindness over anger
- My child is still learning and I will be a model of kindness
- As the adult in this home, I can choose kindness above all else
- May all of my words be kind and gentle today
- I am patient with myself and others
It’s funny how when I become angry these words ring in my head because I keep repeating these words daily. It helps to remind me of my goal. And then I gently bring back my composure.
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Your goal is to control your anger towards kids and become a patient parent. It cannot happen in a day. You need to work on it daily and intentionally. But if you follow the above tips, you can break the habit and be the calm parent you want to be, in months, if not in days.
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